BOWLING GREEN, OH (WTOL) - BGSU Hockey is having another really good season but their captain might actually be making a bigger impact off the ice.
Mitch McLain has the C on this sweater and is currently leading the BGSU Hockey team in goals.
Over the years, the senior from Baxter, Minnesota has had his fair share of big moments on the ice for the Falcons.
But it's his impact off the ice, that might be the most impressive part of McLain's time at Bowling Green.
McLain is a Mild-to-Moderate Intervention Specialist major at BG and has spent his time away from the rink working with special needs students at Wood Lane School.
"They really are the best people," said McLain. "They don't care what brand of clothing you wear, how you're wearing your hair, if you shave your beard and stuff like that. So, they're truly the best people and that's why I like working with them."
This year, his work away from the ice got McLain nominated for the Hockey Humanitarian Award. But he doesn't do this for the awards.
"He has a comfort level," said BGSU Head Coach Chris Bergeron. "That's all these young people want, they want people around them to be comfortable. To watch Mitchell interact with those type of kids and then to hear the teachers talk about what they think of it, it's a pretty special, emotional thing for me."
No matter how tough a day at the rink can be, life quickly gets put in to perspective for McLain, when he sees the smiles on the face of the students at Wood Lane.
"When you're around them every day and you can see what they're going through, whether it's confined to a wheelchair or they are unable to straighten their arms, and how uncomfortable that must be, and how willing they are to try what you're asking them to do, or how happy they are that you're there. I think that when things get tough at the hockey rink and it seems like you're dealing with a lot of adversity, to be able to reflect on that time or go there on
those days definitely pulls you out of that lull that you're feeling. It makes you feel better about things and you're hungry to make your day better," said McLain.
Hockey careers don't last forever, but McLain has a long-term vision of working with special needs kids once his days on the ice are done.