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Winter Sports Spectacular: Hockey

CHAMPAIGN -- A sport well-known to the Winter Games is hockey, but its presence in Central Illinois may be hard to see.
CHAMPAIGN -- A sport well-known to the Winter Games is hockey, but its presence in Central Illinois may be hard to see. That's what sent a Champaign native across the world to follow his dreams. WCIA-3's Erica Quednau files this Winter Sports Spectacular.

Watching Marcus Mitchell on the ice...

"I kept bugging my mom, 'mom I want to skate, mom, I want to skate.'"

It's clear he was born to play hockey.

"She put me out in the ice hoping I'd fall a couple times and want to do something else, but I got out there and just started skating naturally. And then I've been playing for 20-years now."

He started skating at the age of three and hockey came just a year later.

"I realized it was my passion when I was younger. I always knew what I wanted to do when I was four years old. I told my mom I wanted to be a pro hockey player."

So, at 7, he joined a traveling team.

"Wisconsin, St. Louis, New York, Minnesota, Vancouver, Arizona; pretty much everywhere. So, traveling North America, I got to get a good experience of what hockey's like in other places and see how it's more competitive."

He never turned back. But the game which took him so far from home, had a funny way of bringing him back.

"I thought I'd never be back in this area. And it just so happened that I got traded here to Danville and I got the chance to be back home and play again."

Marcus was finally able to share his passion with the people who were there from the beginning.

"It's great to have family and friends that came to the game. They always heard about the hockey, but for them to actually come to the game and get a chance to see me play, it was a whole different experience and I loved it."

An experience he owes all to his faith.

"As long as God keeps blessing me with the ability to play, I'm just going to keep playing. It's different from a lot of other sports, so it's been a fun journey. It's been interesting, but I love it."

Marcus no longer plays for the Danville Dashers.
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