Successful team-building

By ROBERT LINNEHAN | The Cherry Hill Sun
Hockey is all about teamwork — on and off the ice — and there’s a reason that teams like the Philadelphia Flyers organize team bonding sessions and community service projects before the season begins. Scott Busler, a local hockey coach who has been involved in the game for the past 35 years, realizes the importance of such programs and requires each of his teams to give back their time to local community.
Head coach of the Cherry Hill Middle School ice hockey team, Busler has arranged for his 13-player team to donate a day of service to the City of Camden Ronald McDonald House. The Ronald McDonald House Charities have been helping the families of ill children find places to live at little to no cost during their medical treatments.
The Ronald McDonald House offers families private bedrooms, playrooms for children, and free meals throughout their stay. Families aren’t charged anything for their stay and are only asked for a possible $25 donation per day, though it’s not a requirement, according to charity representatives.
The team traveled to the Ronald McDonald house recently, helping to reorganize the charity’s pantry and donating a number of blankets and juice boxes for the visitors who live part time in the house.
Every team he has coached has taken on a charity program, Busler said, because it’s important for the young men to bond outside of the ice rink and learn the value of giving back to their community. This is his first year as the head coach of the middle school, but he had coached numerous teams in Voorhees Township.
“I just think it’s good for these kids to have a sense of pride and a love of their community. I like to have the kids see something outside of the Cherry Hill area to see what people are going through,” he said. “It’s important for these kids to do community service and to give back to their community and help them gain a sense of pride in their community.”
The young players received a tour of the home and met with several of the families who were staying at the house.
Daniel First, 13, a defenseman from Beck Middle School said he was looking forward to visiting the Ronald McDonald house and getting the chance to give back to his community.
“I think it’s great that we’re giving back to the community. I’ve never been on a team that’s done this before; the team is pretty close so I think it’s a nice group of kids to do this with,” he said. “The most important thing we’re doing is helping the people at the Ronald McDonald House.”
The opportunity to bond off the ice and help people at the same time was the highlight of the day, Jason Fisch, 12, said. The Rosa International Middle School student, a defender on the team, said many of the people on the team don’t attend the same school and don’t have an opportunity to hang out outside of hockey.
“I think it will be good because we don’t do this often at all. It’s good bonding off-ice. It’s the first time this season that we’re doing something this big. We usually just meet sometime for practice,” he said. “I’m looking forward to helping out people and the families at the house. Having them see a smile on my face, hanging out, just talking, that will be fun.”