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SARATOGA SPRINGS: Passing on their knowledge

"It's cool because he's really experienced, and he teaches me a lot (about goaltending)," said Hobbs.

O'Brien, the elder statesman of the staff, also helps with the drills and offers advice and encouragement to the players on the bench.

"Dave (Hungerford) lights the fire under the kids, and I'm the grandfather who goes over and says to them, 'You missed that shot. I've seen you make that shot before, so try it again,'" said O'Brien.

"He knows a lot about the game," Torres said of O'Brien. "He comes to a lot of the high school games, too, and comes up and tells us what we're doing and what we should do."

Hungerford said he knew what he was getting with O'Brien when he asked him to join his staff.

"Terry's a personal friend of mine who's been in hockey forever and ever," said Hungerford. "I asked him if he'd consider helping with the kids on a part-time basis. He spoke with his wife first and agreed to give it a shot. He's been an absolute joy ever since."

"Third and fourth graders, from what I've found out, are no different than kids from Saskatoon or Quebec. A 9-year-old is a 9-year-old," said O'Brien. "They're just learning the sport."

What Hungerford didn't know was how much time Torres and McGuiggan would be able to dedicate to the squirt team, since both of them had obligations to their school's varsity team.

"Nick (Torres) has been with us when he's been able to fit it in with his other sports " the same thing with Tyger (McGuiggan)," he said.

But the two Blue Streaks said fitting the Blue Knights practices into their schedule was no problem.

"School sports practices are over at 5:30 or 6 p.m., and these practices start at 6:30 or 7 p.m. So it was easy for me to get over here in time to help out," said Torres.

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