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Different kind of icing

FCA monthly honor takes cake in Kimmel's tough hockey season

FCA monthly honor takes cake in Kimmel's tough hockey season

December 19, 2009|By MARK KELLER

Zach Kimmel always looks forward to hockey season.

The South Hagerstown High School junior began playing the sport when he was five years old, right around the time the Hagerstown Ice and Sports Complex came into existence. And other than the normal bumps and bruises that come from playing the physical game, Kimmel has remained healthy while playing for the Washington County Northstars high school team and the Hagerstown Bulldogs travel club.

But starting this summer, Kimmel has endured a run of bad luck. A broken rib over the summer and a collapsed lung in the fall have limited him to only a handful of games over the past six months.

"I missed three games over the summer because of my rib, came back and played three weeks and then this happened," said Kimmel, referring to the collapsed lung. "It's just a bummer. I have friends I've played my whole life with that I'll only get to play a few more games with."

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Despite the injuries, Kimmel was named Fellowship of Christian Athletes Hockey Athlete of the Month for December, a small consolation for being unable to actually take to the ice for a game.

Kimmel said he has been involved with FCA at South since his freshman year and took part in an FCA hockey camp at the Hagerstown rink last summer at the urging of his high school coach, Jamie Blackwood.

Although Kimmel, a defenseman, didn't think he performed well, he was noticed by FCA staff.

"It's a pretty cool honor. I didn't know it was an FCA camp until the day before it happened," Kimmel said. "It helped me to get my name into their program. For how rusty I felt, it turned out to be a great camp overall."

In fact, FCA coach Rick Randazzo was impressed enough with Kimmel at the Hagerstown camp to invite him to play on an FCA All-Star team in Buffalo, N.Y., next May.

"I'm really excited about the opportunity," Kimmel said. "There will be some pretty high-end junior teams there and some really tough competition. I'm looking forward to that."

Kimmel also plays lacrosse at South and is now beginning the process of choosing a college. Penn State is one of the schools at the top of his list.

"I've been getting a lot more information the last couple weeks," Kimmel said. "I want to try to pick a few major schools that I really want to apply to, send some of my information and hope to get a scholarship or a tryout.

"I would love to play hockey in college, but I'm there for my studies. Hockey has to come second."

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