By @MichaelCaples –
WATERFORD – Sidney Larkin sat high above the Lakeland Ice Arena playing surface, anxious to see her sons’ team convert on a power play.
“Hopefully we get one, my goodness.”
Once a hockey mom, always a hockey mom – even if it’s at the charity game organized by her budding superstar son.
The good news is that Tattoos by Loaf, the team led by Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin and his family members, ended up prevailing over MCIA by a final score of 7-5 in Eastside Elite Hockey League play.
Good news, of course, because the game was moved to Larkin’s hometown rink and more than 500 people showed up to see him and his friends – like Zach Werenski, Danny DeKeyser and Alex DeBrincat – play in a charity game.
Just another day in the life of Dylan Larkin.
Photo gallery by Andrew Knapik/MiHockey
The 20-year-old Waterford native, with his brother Colin and cousins Adam and Ryan, has been running the second annual Larkin Hockey School at Lakeland, and on Tuesday, a charity game and autograph signing to help his hometown youth hockey association.
“I rode here with Dylan today, and I told him how proud I was of him for what he’s doing, with the camp and his charity game,” Sidney Larkin said. “At such a young age, I think it’s really remarkable.”
For the NTDP and Wolverine alum, the points in the Eastside Elite standings may have been more important than the game.
“Close game there, they were in third place and so were we, so it was a fun game,” he said with a smile. “It had a little bit more intensity because of the big crowd and a fun night, but all in all, it was a big three points for us, and it was a fun night.”
On a more serious note, he was moved by the attendance for a quickly-assembled event. More than 500 people crammed into the main rink at Lakeland to see the contest, and the majority stayed for the ensuing autograph session.
“It was awesome to see all the fans that came out, and it was cool to see a lot of 71 jerseys,” he said. “It means a lot to be back here while my hockey school’s going on – it’s a fun night.”
The turnout wasn’t lost on the Larkin family.
“It’s really special,” Sidney Larkin said. “I know a lot of other people were talking about it, too, saying if they didn’t have other obligations they would be here. It’s awesome, we have a lot of people here today, and it’s for a good cause. The hockey association’s been around for a real long time, I think it’s one of the oldest in the state, so it’s really good that they’re fundraising for them.”
It was a homecoming for Steven Oleksy, as well; the Eastside Elite Hockey League creator was thrilled to help bring a league game to the rink he called home for three seasons as a member of the Metro Jets.
“I’m really happy to link up with Dylan Larkin and the Larkin family and bring an Eastside Elite game to Lakeland Arena,” the Anaheim Ducks signee said. “It’s a great way to showcase the league, and all the great things they do for the community around Lakeland. This was my home rink for three years, so there are a lot of memories I built here, and some crucial hockey moments.
“To have an event here and see the support that this area has shown for many, many years for the hockey community, it’s really cool to have Eastside Elite involved in it.”
The total amount of money raised is still be calculated, but the Lakeland Hockey Association is expected to receive more than $2,000 from the Larkin event.
“We’re very thankful that Dylan is willing to give his time back, for everything he does here,” said Lakeland director Brad Martin. “Just for these kids to come out here and be able to see three NHL players on the ice, here, not at Joe Louis Arena but to see them up close. What it means to these kids, their eyes, it was just awesome. Being a parent now and seeing how the kids look up to the guys and thinking about how I would have felt as a kid to see something like that, it’s just great for everyone.
“We’re very appreciative of all the guys for helping make this event so special for Lakeland and helping raise money for us, as well.”