Jim Leitner | Dec. 2012 | USA Hockey Magazine
Joe Rogers will never forget how star-struck he felt while meeting the role model who inspired him to persevere through life’s challenges to realize a boyhood dream.
As a kid growing up in tiny Marysville, Mich., Rogers made an immediate connection with baseball player Jim Abbott, who was also born with an underdeveloped right hand. Abbott forged a 10-year Major League Baseball career through hard work and determination that did a number on an impressionable young Rogers, who faced a similar obstacle.
“I know exactly how it feels to be that little kid and feeling better about myself because there was someone out there just like me who made it,” said Rogers, a junior goaltender at the University of Notre Dame.
For the past four years, Rogers has served as a mentor and role model to Elliot Huels, a 12-year-old youth hockey player from Overland Park, Kan., who has an underdeveloped left hand.