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Yukon teen may be off the ice, but he's still on the team

'In my life, I've never given up,' says 15-year-old Lucas Yuill, who was born with cerebral palsy. That attitude — and his passion for hockey — earned him a spot on a Whitehorse Pee Wee team.

15-year-old Lucas Yuill was born with cerebral palsy, but he's still all-in for hockey

'In my life, I've never given up,' says 15-year-old Lucas Yuill, who was born with cerebral palsy. That attitude — and his passion for hockey — earned him a spot on a Whitehorse peewee team. (George Maratos/CBC)

Lucas Yuill has always loved hockey — though he's never been able to lace up a pair of skates and hit the ice. The 15-year-old was born with cerebral palsy, and he uses a wheelchair to get around.

But his passion for the game and his positive attitude have earned him a spot on a local peewee team in Whitehorse. He never takes to the ice, but he suits up for each game and helps out where he can.

"It was kind of always my dream to go and play ice hockey... It's good to contribute, good to help out," he said.

Yuill said he grew up in a hockey family, and like his dad, he's a die-hard Montreal Canadiens fan. Lucas plays a fair amount of Xbox hockey, and some floor hockey at home on the deck.

"I have my stick, I take shots and everything, and it's just fun."

The Sports Experts peewees invited Lucas to join the team because they've got their eye on the cup — the Chevrolet "good deeds cup," which is awarded to a Canadian peewee team that gives back to its community.

But coach Mike Nemeth said it's not just about getting a trophy. He said Yuill offers a lot to the team.

"Lucas has been a really big boost, I think, for us in a lot of ways. The kids sure have upped their sportsmanship — it's given them a reason to play," he said.

Yuill cheers his teammates on. 'He's hot after my spot as coach,' said coach Mike Nemeth. (George Maratos/CBC)

"He brings his enthusiasm to every game. Yeah, he's hot after my spot as coach."

Yuill said it's about pursuing what you love.

"I know I can't do things, and it really breaks my heart that I can't. But at the other hand, it's like, OK. Like, in my life, I've never given up," he said.

Nemeth's son James, who's also on the team, said it's great to have Yuill cheering from the bench. When asked who's the best coach, James has a quick answer.

"Lucas, definitely!" 

With files from George Maratos

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