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Hurricane spurs Sowder’s scoring spree

(By Jason Gilder, for BCHL communications)

As the threat of Hurricane Irma bore down on his hometown, Wenatchee Wild forward Lucas Sowder was driven to open the season with a standout performance.

The native of Trinity, Fla. – 30 minutes from Tampa Bay –  started the 2017-18 campaign on a high note, notching a goal and two assists in Wenatchee’s 5-3 road victory against the Merritt Centennials on Saturday, Sept. 9 as the record storm ravaged Florida’s west coast.

While Sowder significantly contributed to Wenatchee’s season opening victory, the extreme weather event taking place at home was on his mind too. Hurricane Irma was set to make landfall on the southeastern U.S. state, but the 1998-born forward knew that his friends and family wanted him to focus on playing hockey.

“It honestly was in the back of mind, but I just pushed through it and just did it for them,” said Sowder. “I know that’s what my friends and family would have wanted me to do.”

The 18-year old forward used the events taking place at home as motivation for his three-point outburst against the Centennials.

“It got me a little bit fired up actually, to go out there and let it all out on the ice,” said Sowder. “It put a little chip on my shoulder.”

As the hurricane threat was strengthening back home, the 5-foot-11 forward had no shortage of support from his teammates and coaches inside the Wenatchee locker room with many asking how his family in Florida were doing. Sowder acknowledged he did not restrain himself when it came to telling his team how he felt.

“They knew exactly what was going on,” said Sowder. “I didn’t hold back, and I let everyone know how I was feeling.”

The second-year member of the Wild found expressing his feelings to his team regarding the situation helped him immensely, saying it felt better letting everything thing out rather than bottling it up inside and trying to deal with it by himself. Another coping mechanism was his constant amount of communication he had with his loved ones back on the East coast.

“I have reached out to all my friends and family back home to make sure they are okay,” said Sowder. “I feel better now that I know everyone is safe.”

The left-shot forward added that every one of his family and friends are currently safe, as some houses experienced reparable damages and a multitude of trees had been knocked down.

Although the devastation of Hurricane Irma striking Florida was on his mind, Sowder has been using his time with the Wild as a distraction method to the situation back home, stating he had to put all of his focus into hockey both on and off the ice.

“You have to show up to practice ready to go,” said Sowder. “You have to take the time after practice to do treatments, put the right food in your body, so it’s 100 per cent putting body and mind into it at all times.”

Sowder, who once scored 122 points in 17 games with his Florida high school team, continues his fine start to the BCHL season and so far has three goals and three assists in three games for the Wild.