Michael Dinneen

Shoes have many a meaning.

Cinderella’s slippers helped her find a handsome prince to marry. Another is to project a sense of personal style. Yet another is metaphorical, such as walking a mile in someone else’s shoes, an idea that promotes empathetic feelings.

In that regard, several students of Eagle River Elementary, along with Eagle River High School art students, are set to begin participating in a unique effort that combines philanthropy and art, the result of which will produce some 74 area children with artfully decorated shoes.

Winless on the season in four attempts, the Chugiak-Eagle River girls hockey team faced one additional hurdle Monday night: Their one and only netminder came down with the flu, and was unavailable for duty.

To another set of hockey players, this might be cause for alarm and/or depression. But Coach Ryan Suchan looked around the room, and found a volunteer in Annika Sullivan, who was willing to give it a go.

Eagle River triumphed 44-30 over the Mustangs before heading to the Interior for a tournament over the weekend. Both Eagle River and Chugiak will be in action in Palmer this Friday and Saturday at the Lancer Smith Memorial Tournament.

By Saturday afternoon’s hockey game with West Valley was a pre-Thanksgiving feast for the Eagle River Wolves as they ripped a dozen goals by three Wolfpack netminders in a 12-1 rout.

Josh Linn nearly completed a double hat trick as he notched 5 goals, while Bret Jedlicki scored a pair. Single goals went to Sutton McDonald, Brandon Lajoie, Cam  McDonald and Ty McEnaney. 

Ryan Gray had light duty, facing 10 shots, while the Wolves had 30 shots on net.

Eagle River riflery team member Maddie Bidinger took a slow and steady approach to her shooting in Friday’s match with Chugiak. Though comfortably within the time limits for both the standing and kneeling positions, she was one of the last shooter on the line for both disciplines. Her approach paid off; she finished in fifth place for the match, trailing only leaders and teammates Haley Nicholson and Ashtin Bennett.

The Chugiak Mustangs came into the Cook Inlet Conference playoffs with a chip on their shoulders as the fifth seed picked to go out early and leave the heavy lifting to the rest of the contenders.

First, they dispatched the Service Cougars 27-12, then survived the Dimond Lynx 12-6.

In Saturday afternoon’s brisk and clear conditions, as the national anthem was played, the 42 players and five coaches of the host West High Eagles looked quite imposing on the home side of the field.

Led by several great runs by quarterback Chastity Selden, Chugiak defeated Dimond 12-6 in the flag football Cook Inlet Conference semifinals on Thursday. Carson Head and Eva Palmer each had touchdown receptions and Head also made a key interception. Dimond suffered two dropped passes in the end zone, one with only seconds left in the game. Chugiak will play Saturday afternoon in the state final against Anchorage West High.

If you just can’t get wait for dog mushing in the winter, you ought to check out the action at the Birchwood Trails, where the dryland mushing racing season just concluded with the Speedy Glass Dog Derby last weekend. 

Now in its third year, the four-race dryland season run by the Chugiak Dog Mushers Association attracted a couple dozen passionate mushers and enthusiasts competing in events over the final weekend of the year that involved bicycles, scooters, carts and feet and dog teams in numbers from one to four.

Bobbi Mason’s Chugiak Mustang volleyball teams produced two days of extra effort last week to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer.

Wednesday’s silent auction ran in conjunction with a volleyball match with South, and Thursday’s fun run attracted about 50 participants, beginning and ending at Healthwise Physical Therapy, a partner in the effort. 

For most of the second and third quarters between Service High and Chugiak High last Friday, the teams played like heavyweight contenders eschewing defense for offense and trading touchdowns like punches, neither forging more than a touchdown lead.

The Mustangs, who finished the season 5-4 and champions of the Railbelt Conference, survived a shaky first half of playoff football, overcoming several fumbles and defensive lapses to remain tied at 21 with the visiting Service at the break.