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Syracuse ice hockey: Sarah Thompson gives back through “Sticks Together”

The junior forward went overseas during the summer to teach and grow the game

Michael Ostrowski

While the Syracuse Orange work to build a championship culture on the ice, one of their players is doing her part to grow the sport outside of Central New York.

Sarah Thompson, a junior forward from Ontario, Canada, created the “Sticks Together” program in an effort to bring hockey to underprivileged international communities. Thompson made her inaugural trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina from May 16 to June 6.

“It’s something that I thought about for a really long time,” Thompson said. “My mom was a teacher, so I really loved working with kids.”

“I had originally planned to go on a volunteer trip as any normal volunteer would, and then COVID kind of put that on pause and I had a lot of time to think about how I might want to grow that impact.... Delaying it a year was probably a blessing in disguise.”

After much debate and careful planning, Sarah decided on an extended road-trip, with Argentina as the destination. Her project raised 4,600 Canadian dollars (about $3,400), which helped provide sticks and other equipment to local children. The Ottawa product taught them the basics of stick handling and set a foundation that she hopes they will continue to build upon.

“I was trying to teach them difference between holding a stick left-handed and right-handed, but (at first) they didn’t care. They just wanted to hold the stick.” Thompson said. “Seeing their reactions and their smiles was incredible.”

Thompson would like to continue the project next summer and hopes to have a plan in place by the end of the calendar year. Until then, she can continue to reflect on the goal she set in the first place - and how it is already coming to fruition.

“I cannot imagine a life without sports, and I hope that this project will help us get one step closer to ensuring that nobody has to.”

#11 and the rest of the WICE squad play their home opener tonight at the Tennity Ice Pavilion. The Orange are coming off a CHA Championship and the program’s second ever NCAA Tournament appearance. It was Thompson’s overtime goal last season which gave Syracuse the CHA title and NCAA berth.

New head coach Britni Smith picked up her first SU win over Merrimack on Friday. Joining the squad as associate head coach is Heather Farrell, an 18-year veteran. She was officially introduced on Tuesday.

Puck drop against St. Lawrence is scheduled for 6 and the game is available on