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Minnesota Squatch teams up with an unexpected squad at Otsego retirement center

On Communities that KARE, learn about the junior hockey team making a difference for their elderly neighbors.

OTSEGO, Minn. — Bringing people together can be tough sometimes, and the group gathering around the bingo boards at Guardian Angels Riverview Landing in Otsego may look a little unusual. But when the young men from the Minnesota Squatch junior hockey team get together with residents at the home, both generations benefit. 

"Thirty-four! That's my bad, sorry!" laughs one of the members of the team out of Elk River, calling a number out to a room of bingo players. 

The Minnesota Squatch is in its first season this year, and staff and players are wasting no time getting to know the community and giving back.

Friendships are forming, including the unlikely team of Phyllis Dahlstrom and Squatch player Daniel Ellingson.

"I graduated in 1956 but our girls' basketball went to the state," Phyllis tells Daniel. 

"That's sick!" he exclaims. 

"It's fun, it's fun!" Phyllis returns. 

Chic Pojar is the head coach, GM and owner of the Minnesota Squatch, and says being on this team is about more than the game.

"People here know hockey right? So I just think having that interaction is good," Pojar said. "It's not only about playing junior hockey. It's about what other experiences that you can bring to the table and offer if you're going to apply for college or going to a job interview."

All of the Squatch players are between 18 and 20 years old, with a goal of going on to play college hockey. In the meantime, they're making a difference for a crew decades ahead.

Pojar thinks these are the life lessons and experiences his young team can take with them."It's a win-win right? It's good for the senior community, it's good for these young men."

After serving food to the residents at the other Guardian Angels facility in Elk River, the team was excited to play some bingo in Otsego. 

Minnesota Squatch players volunteer with Guardian Angels on a monthly basis. 

They'll be serving lunch to seniors on Wednesday, Nov. 30. 

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