Abby Pieper, a nine-year-old hockey player from Marquette, got the chance to show her skills on the ice before Thursday night’s Detroit Red Wings game. Wearing her #MIKidsCan Red Wings jersey, she skated to the Red Wings blue line to stand with the team for the national anthem. As a regular sponsor of the Youth Hockey Skater of the Game, BCBSM sponsors more than 20 kids who have the opportunity to skate on the ice before select home games . The sponsorship is a great example of what Michigan kids can do when they stay active and healthy. Abby’s mother, Leslie Pieper, a provider consultant in Marquette, entered her daughter into the internal #MIKidsCan contest that asked parents to fill in the blank, “My kid can be healthy by…” Leslie wrote, “My kid can be healthy by…continuing her progress and growth through her athletic, academic and social life. If she continues to practice these positive habits of eating well, getting rest and maintain a positive attitude, she will continue to enjoy successful healthy life.” Abby has been skating for four years, and is the only girl playing hockey in the Marquette Squirt boys division, on the Casa Calabria team. Abby loves playing hockey, and was excited to have this opportunity to skate with the Detroit Red Wings. Pieper shared that her daughter was so excited on the ride to Detroit, that she heard the song Best Day of My Life and said, “It actually is the best day of my life.” We had some questions for Abby and here is what she had to say:
Q: How did you get your start in hockey?
A: I participated in a “learn to skate” program and after my first session, I wondered why I wasn’t playing hockey. From then on, I only wanted to play hockey.
Q: Why do you play on a boys team instead of a girls team?
A: I prefer playing with boys because it makes me work harder, it’s more competitive and I can check more.
Q: Do you want to play hockey indefinitely?
A: My goal is to play for the USA Olympic Hockey team and win a gold medal. I also want to be the first female NHL player.
Q: What position do you play?
A: My favorite position to play is center but I play defense too.
Q: Do you have a favorite Red Wings player? If so, why is he your favorite?
A: Pavel Datsyuk because he tries hard, skates well, has a lot of moves, and scores often.
Abby is this week’s #MIKidsCan ambassador but you can get your child involved too! Learn more by visiting www.ahealthiermichigan.com/mikidscan for more ways to get your child involved. #MIKidsCan is designed to encourage parents and caregivers to help their kids develop healthy habits that they can carry into adulthood. We hope that parents and kids will share their stories about how they plan to embrace a healthy lifestyle. Because Blue Cross believes that by understanding the importance of eating right and being physically active, Michigan kids can do anything! Photo credit: Lisa Ansteth/Detroit Red Wings