Hometown Hockey Hero: Nisky Makes an Appearance

Updated: June 26, 2018 06:50 PM

They spend hours on the ice, honing their skills. After all, hockey is a way of life. "Cause skating is fun, and playing is fun," explained Payton Parks, of Virginia. He's 10, and his sister Jaelyn is 12. Both are attending the Blue Devil Summer Hockey School.

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Nolan Peterson, of Eveleth, added, "It's fun. The only thing I don't like is the power skating. There's no break! You just keep doing it."

Someone who's done the power skating for years, and it has paid off, is Matt Niskanen. The defenseman for the Stanley Cup winning Washington Capitals stopped by the hockey camp on Tuesday, to sign autographs and say hi to the kids. 

"I'm happy I grew up here," he told us. "It's special to me. Having a little following of folks and support from home means a lot."

Niskanen remembers looking up to the high school and college players when he was younger. The 2005 MIB graduate played for the Blue Devils, before heading to UMD and then the NHL. He's been back to camp before, but this time was a little more special.

"Because he won the Stanley Cup, the biggest thing in the NHL," Isaac Clapsaddle said. He's from Eveleth.

Niskanen signed hockey cards, sticks, and more. Jaelyn told us, "It was really cool."

Also cool, when the Capitals won the Stanley Cup. Niskanen shares what the moment was like. "I was just screaming like a little kid. I felt like I was 10-years-old and I had just won my first hockey tournament."

Now it's time for a little rest and relaxation, before the next season starts. "It feels good to be home," Niskanen said. "Back to my normal summer routine. Put my feet up, spend some time with family and friends, and do a little fishing."

The kids were thrilled to see him, as they continue to master their skills. 

"It's a fun sport. I like scoring goals, and the teamwork, passing the puck," shared Natalie Bergman, from Cook. 

Rory Scuffy, of Eveleth, added, "Scoring goals, and spreading school spirit."

Nisky plans on bringing The Cup to the Miners later this summer. 

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