Freedom Academy Fifth Grader Talks About His Love of Hockey and All Things Finnish


Nooa started ice skating when he was about six years old. He wanted to try out playing as a goalie and played in the house league at Scottsdale Ice Den. Last year he was introduced to the travel team AHU Knights at Gila River Arena where he subbed as a goalie. This year he wanted to continue travel hockey and was chosen to be one of the two goalies for Junior Coyotes in Chandler. Nooa is a member of CCV and he volunteers in after service cleaning up. Nooa loves his big sister, Emma, and rescue terrier puppy, Lumi.

Q. What is the best part about playing ice hockey?

A. Ice Hockey is a fun sport and I love playing the game with my teammates. My four coaches are the best and make it a lot of fun. It is a lot of exercise when we have to powerskate and jump at practices. Being a goalie is a lot of fun because you have to try to stop the flying pucks.

Q. Since Finnish isn’t a common language in Phoenix, how do you keep your language skills strong? Do you speak Finnish at home?

A. I speak Finnish with my mom and watch Finnish TV channels online. I also have a lot of books my mom reads to me that she has brought from Finland. I get a Donald Duck cartoon magazine that my grandparents sent me from Finland it is in Finnish and I can read it by myself.

Q. What do you look forward to the most about your annual trip to Finland?

A. All the family, my grandparents, great grandmas, uncles, aunts and cousins. We eat a lot of ice cream there during the summer. We bicycle a lot, go to the beach, cook and bake with grandma and aunts, walk around in the forest and carve with knife, fish and boat, cook sausage on the fire. Going to a sauna and sitting in there in the steam is something different Finnish people do when they wash up. American friends think it is funny that the whole family goes there at once. Seeing the reindeer running around in the forest is wild. There are a lot of squirrels, too!

Q. What’s your favorite class as a fifth grader?

A. My favorite class is social studies because I get to learn about world history.

Q. Is it tough to keep such a stringent training schedule? What do you like to do for fun when you’re not playing hockey?

A. Yes, it is tough to get my school work done when I have practices four times a week, but I do homework right after school and also do it in the car to get it done. When I don’t play hockey, I like to have a friend over to play mini-hockey, street hockey, table hockey or swim or jump on the trampoline.

Q. What type of volunteering do you like to participate in?

A. I hand out food gift cards to homeless on street corners and also help at church when they do clean up after service. I help to empty trashes and put away games and the food tents and other stuff. Then we get to eat a hamburger.

Nooa Riecks is a fifth grader at Freedom Academy.



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