AMHERST, N.S. – After his playing days are over, Will Lafford can see himself behind a bench coaching hockey at some level.
The veteran forward with the Amherst CIBC Wood Gundy Ramblers may be winding down his junior A hockey career at this week’s Fred Page Cup, but he’s also been active on another front – helping out a spring hockey team.
“The players are really fun to be around. They just want to get better and it’s nice to be part of that atmosphere,” said Lafford, a co-captain with the Ramblers.
During the winter, Lafford and several teammates went out to a Cumberland Novice Penguins practice in Oxford and played a fun game with the seven and eight-year-old hockey players. Lafford, who has developed a great working relationship with Penguins’ coach Kyle Remington has continued to come out to practices.
“The kids work hard, but they have fun doing it,” Lafford said. “I know I’m probably not going to be playing much more after junior and I’m enjoying being able to give something back. I was fortunate in that I played at some of the higher levels growing up. I was never the most skilled player, but I always saw the game well and it’s something I hope to be able to pass on.”
Remington said having players like Lafford come out to practice and games has been very helpful to his program because the kids look up to the junior players.
“Will has been very good with them and they love learning from him,” Remington said. “It’s good having him on board with our coaching staff and the kids really look up to him. When you’re their age, being on the ice with a member of the Ramblers is quite a thrill.”
Player Camden Remington said it’s fun having Lafford around.
“We like having him on the ice with us,” Camden said. “He has taught me quite a bit. He taught us about working harder.”
Lafford's commitment to the community is something that was recognized a month ago when he was presented the Ramblers' Ambassador Volunteerism Award for Community Service.
It was one of several awards he won including the Jeff and Wayne Myatt Memorial, the Academic Proficiency, Leadership and Hockey Ability Award and the Henry Treadwell Fan's Choice Award.