Time flies. Just a short while ago, we were introducing ourselves to Aito on Instagram. That led to a friendly back and forth which eventually led to a trip to Japan to skate with Aito and the Saitama Jr. Warriors. this was over two years ago. While on that first journey to Japan we were introduced to Aito’s teammate and good buddy Yuga. Aito and his father had Yuga and his mother Kumiko drive us up to the Hossoo Dome Rink in Nikko Japan. It was a magical day. We got to skate together and send a whole day traveling through Japan. We all became friends after this journey and stayed in close contact. This year we went back to Japan and spent a lot more time together. We skated with the boys and celebrated New Years together. Before we left to return home, we started talking about opportunities for the boys to come over to North America and skate. With the ultimate goal of making it to the NHL, it was agreed upon that playing in Japan has its limitations. There was an opportunity to that was perfect for Aito and Yuga to come over and compete against Both American skaters. It was the USHL Combine. The best of the best 2003 birth year players would all be in Chicago battling it out and chasing after that hockey dream. If you ever dreamed of playing Junior hockey and eventually playing for a living this is a great opportunity. My old teammate, Doug Christansen is the director of player development and recruitment for the USHL, which is the top junior league in the country. He was more than happy to offer the boy each a spot at the camp. They both jumped at the opportunity and came over from Japan to test their skills. The camp went great for both guys. Each of them showcasing their talents in front of many scouts from all over the county. It was great for us to be there to witness them playing in the camp. I went to every game they played and it was awesome. Got some sweet footage and a highlight video hopefully coming soon. After it was all over, it was time to do the weekly instagram LIVE giveaway. I asked the boys to join the live and answer your questions. It was really fun. We had kids from all over the world join the stream and get to talk to Aito and Yuga personally. We gave away some Buttendz grips and this sis the footage of how we did it. Aito and Yuga behind the scenes. Stay tuned for new vids to follow.
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