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The Student Voice of Wichita Northwest High School

Northwest Explorer

The Student Voice of Wichita Northwest High School

Northwest Explorer

The Student Voice of Wichita Northwest High School

Northwest Explorer

Northwest student Keaton O’Malia has future in hockey

Living in Wichita, if you’re at all familiar with hockey, Thunder is a team you have probably heard about. Wichita Thunder hockey team has been playing in the CHL (Central Hockey League) since 1992, and has grown very popular in Wichita. Junior Keaton O’Malia has a dream of playing professionally one day, and he has started by joining the Thunder’s junior league.

O’Malia started playing hockey when he was 8 years old. He was inspired to play after his sister took him to his first  game, and has been hooked on the hockey life ever since.

Before he started playing he was interested in other sports, but once he began competing, that all changed.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to play professionally,” O’Malia said, “But I’ve been forced to look into other careers because you can’t play your whole life. I’m undecided on what career I want, but I do know I want to play for Notre Dame. I’ve always wanted to go and play there.”

Wichita Thunder’s junior league is a new team put together this year. The ages range from 16-21, and the average age for players is 19. O’Malia and one other player are the youngest–both being 16–currently playing, and the only ones that are still in high school. Playing on the team gives you the opportunity to be scouted by a college and continue on with the dream of playing professionally.

“I remember one of the guys who played [for Thunder] around 6-7 years ago: Travis Clayton. He has always been a role model to me when it comes to hockey. He’s now a coach for a team in my league and my team played his team not too long ago. I thought that was pretty cool,” O’Malia said.

In the past two years, O’Malia has become more dedicated to hockey than ever. He practices or plays everyday attempting to accomplish his dream.

“It’s important to work hard enough and maybe one day get a scholarship from it. It’s that inner drive, I guess,” O’Malia said.

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