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Cheesman: a positive influence

Sophomore forward Bo Cheesman

Nov. 19, 2002

By Lindsey Mechalik, LSSU Sports Information student intern

While most students traveled home for the summer, sophomore forward Bo Cheesman decided to stay in Sault Ste. Marie, a town that he considers his second home.

Cheesman, a native of Peoria, Ill., is in his second year at Lake Superior State, but has lived in the Sault for the past four years. He has met many different people who have welcomed him. Prior to skating for the Lakers, Cheesman played Junior A hockey for the Soo Indians. He wasn't in town long before he started giving back to a community that thrives on community service.

During his first year with the Indians, Cheesman received the Soo Indians Outstanding Community Service Award. One of his favorite activities was reading to children at the elementary schools. He also volunteered his expertise at youth hockey practices.

This summer, Cheesman worked with the Big Bear Youth Program and at Laker Hockey School. Volunteering at Camp Quality, a recreation camp for young cancer victims and survivors near Petoskey, was his most-rewarding endeavor. Cheesman was a companion to a cancer-surviving child for a week. They participated in sports, outdoor activities and many other camp experiences.

"With only a single week of fun, we created a lifetime full of memories," Cheesman said. "It helped to put hockey into perspective, and to realize how lucky and blessed I am."

Even though Cheesman was busy with camps and work, he found time to commit to the off-season workout program designed by the Laker coaching staff. He followed the extensive five-day weight-training program, including cardio, biking, sprints, and skating. His goal was to come back to the team in the fall in great physical condition and ready to start pre-season training.

Cheesman is off to a good start this year. In his first 11 games he has two goals and one assist. He plays right wing is always driving towards the net. Cheesman plays well both offensively and defensively, realizing that a game is only won if a team plays well at both ends of the ice.

Cheesman wore an "A" signifying assistant captain during the first games of this season. He said that coach Frank Anzalone picks who should wear the "A's" each game by who has been putting everything they have into playing and who shows that they can lead the team.

While having the role of assistant captain, Cheesman tries to lead by example on and off the ice. Off the ice he tries to help the 15 freshman players get accustomed to college life. It's a responsibility he would assume even if he did not wear the "A."

"I am proud to be part of a family," Cheesman said. "If Coach decides that I should wear an "A" for a game, I will proudly. But no matter what, I am proud to wear the anchor."

Fans can recognize Cheesman by one of his pre-game rituals. After pre-game warm-ups and players from both teams have exited the ice, he skates around the anchor and taps his stick on center ice before returning to the Laker lockerroom. The tapping of the anchor is a tribute to Peggy Kaunisto, a woman dear to his heart who passed away while he was playing for the Indians. The community service award that he won as a Junior A rookie is now named in her honor.

"Peggy was a wonderful woman," Cheesman said. "She was everyone's second mom. She was the heart and soul of the rink. Before each game I just want to pay my respects to her one last time before I get off the ice. When I tap the anchor it is just to let her know that it's go time."

Cheesman's goal is to take hockey as far as he can. In the near future he wants to focus on his academics and graduating from Lake Superior State. He chose criminal justice as a major because he says he is not a "desk guy." He loves the thought of the constant variety, plus working in law enforcement is a family tradition. His grandfather and father were policemen in England. Cheesman would be the first American policeman in his family. Although a few years in professional hockey would be a dream come true, he hopes to become a state trooper after hockey.

Cheesman's positive attitude was missed last weekend when the Lakers played in Ann Arbor. He stayed in the Sault in order to recover from a lingering bug. But look for him to be the last player off the ice during tonight's warm-ups. His physical and supportive presence will be obvious during the game.

Lake Superior State Men's Ice Hockey
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