Pennies add up to gift for hockey player

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MANCHESTER — When it comes to helping families afford the expense of ice time during hockey season, every penny counts.

With that in mind, the Northshire Hockey Association can be grateful that one if its own young players is good at making smart guesses — and that she's generous.

Fiona Honan of Granville, N.Y., had the closest guess of how many pennies were in the jar displayed in the welcome center of Hildene around Thanksgiving. With her guess, she won herself $29.69 and a matching grant to the charity of her choice.

She chose to give to the NHA, the hockey program in which she has played her entire young career.

"I've been playing hockey for a few years now, and I really like it, so I thought I would donate the money to them," Honan told the Journal.

The gift is going to the Blue Line Club. a new NHA program intended to help families defray the cost of ice time.

"Fiona is very energetic, and very into hockey. She loves skating; she's always on the ice for public skate," said coach Gordon Searles. "I was very happy for her and for NHA, our hockey association, for her thinking of us."

Every year around Thanksgiving, in honor of President Abraham Lincoln's role in establishing the holiday, the staff at Hildene fills a jar with Lincoln pennies and asks youths ages 5-15 — locals and visitors alike — to guess how many coins are in the jar. The closest guess wins, and Hildene matches the amount won with a check to a non-profit of the winner's choice.

Honan wasn't fazed by the challenge.

"It was pretty simple. I just stared at the jar and assumed that there were 3,000 pennies in there," she said.

While it's Honan's thoughtfulness that brought her attention, she's also playing well this season, Searles said.

"I'm very proud of her and her accomplishments this year. She's doing really well, and this is her first year as a ten-and-under squirts. She's doing really well and working to learn the game of hockey as a girl," Searles said,

"It's really great that we have about four or five girls on the team. There's not as many girls playing hockey, so it's refreshing to have females out on the ice."

Reach Cherise Madigan at cmadigan@manchesterjournal.com.

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