Sponsored By
An organization or individual has paid for the creation of this work but did not approve or review it.



Mini Sticks, major impact; Omaha defenseman Tucker Shedd doing his part to raise cancer awareness

After watching his mom fight breast cancer as a kid, Tucker Shedd created The Mini Sticks Charitable Organization to help those impacted by cancer

Tucker Shedd Mini Sticks Story 1.JPG
Along with being one of the Lancers assistant captains, Omaha defenseman Tucker Shedd is the founder and captain of The Mini Sticks Charitable Organization. The organization’s mission is to support kids and their families affected by cancer with a simple vision: provide an escape from cancer.
Jordan McAlpine / The Rink Live

OMAHA, Neb. – As Tucker Shedd takes the ice before every Omaha Lancers home game, the Michigan State commit knows he has a job to do.

At the same time, part of Shedd’s routine focuses on something bigger than the game.

It might only be for a few minutes, but the Holt, Michigan, native wants to make an impact on a group of kids that hold a special meaning in his heart.

“When you step on that ice you’re dialed in and getting ready for the game. But when you see the kids and their families sitting there during warmups and you go over and talk with them, it makes you really take a step back and gives you a perspective on what really matters in life,” Shedd told The Rink Live earlier this week.

“I didn’t go through cancer myself, so I know I wasn’t exactly in their shoes. But I grew up around it and I know it isn’t easy what those kids are going through. Helping put a smile on their face and giving them a night out is something that means a lot to me.”


Although Shedd didn’t have cancer himself, the Michigan native saw its effects firsthand.

His mother, Meagan, was diagnosed with breast cancer when Tucker was 9. From doctor visits to labs and watching the countless rounds of chemo, most of his childhood was surrounded by the disease.

“It was a lot to wrap my head around at a young age and it was scary, because I didn’t know what was going to happen,” Shedd said. “But I think with the help of my Ma as I slowly got older I was able to process it. And looking back now, it helped me mature a lot.

“Obviously I’ll never be able to fully understand what it was like and I wish nobody ever had to go through it. But it’s given me a different perspective and I want to find ways to help people however I can.”

Those last five words are where today comes into the picture.

While the 6-foot, 180-pound defenseman is trying to develop his game on the ice, Shedd has been just as active off of it this season with The Mini Sticks Charitable Organization.

Tucker Shedd Mini Sticks Story.JPG
Tucker Shedd is in his second season with the Omaha Lancers. When what the support in Omaha has been like, his answer started with one word - amazing. “I had barely even heard of Omaha before I got here last season and to think now about the way people here have supported us and united together for this cause, it’s special. I’m very appreciative of all of the effort people have shown us.”
Jordan McAlpine / The Rink Live

A foundation he started back in September, the idea came up over the summer and Shedd wanted to do something to raise cancer awareness in the Omaha area. Specifically pediatric cancer.

Although he wants it to eventually follow him to Michigan State, Shedd reiterated multiple times he wants to see Mini Sticks continue in Omaha. And potentially expand to other USHL markets as well.


Shedd, along with the help of Annie Distefano, has been reaching out to local Omaha organizations and hospitals to find kids who have been fighting cancer. Once identified, he invites them and their family to a game at Liberty First Credit Union Arena.

Shedd bench.jpg
Tucker Shedd pictured with one of this season's Mini Sticks Kids, Wyatt. Wyatt was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in March 2021. Information on all of this season's kids can be found on TheMiniStickCO Instagram page. "Cancer isn’t the happiest place and for him to be able to help take these kids out of it for a night, understand what they’re going through and make them a priority, I think that’s what impresses me the most about Tuck," Meagan Shedd said.
Annie Distefano / The Shedd Family.

They’ll watch warmups from the bench, the child gets recognized on the videoboard during the first media timeout and they’ll reconnect with Shedd and his Lancer teammates after the game.

“Cancer has been a part of most of my childhood and it forced me to mature at a young age,” Shedd said. “At the beginning, I wasn’t too familiar with what was going on. But my Ma has always been a huge inspiration for me and I’ve always wanted to do something to give back.

“The Mini Sticks idea came up randomly in the car one day and it’s been fun to see how it has grown so far. There’s nothing better than being able to put a smile on these kids’ faces and I want to make memories and friendships that we can keep moving forward.”

Antonio Fernandez and Mason Marcellus both record two-point games as Stars inch within one point of Waterloo in the Western Conference standings
Stars and Storm surging, Phantoms closing in on Chicago and races for final playoff spots heat up as April nears
Take a year-by-year and team-by-team look at the USHL's tender history and what goes into the tendering process
Storm impress with three-game sweep of Fargo and prepare for pivotal mid-week game in Lincoln, while the Steel and Phantoms battle for the top spot in the Eastern Conference
Daimon Gardner and Shaun McEwen lead Tri-City to a three-game sweep over Fargo while Hrabal pitches a 35-save shutout against Waterloo
Rochester native Maddox Fleming will head to Notre Dame in the fall to play Division I college hockey. He's spent the past year preparing himself mentally and physically for the next level.
Steel are playoff bound for a seventh consecutive season while the Stars look to make a deep run
Owen Mehlenbacher and Zam Plante are two of the Force's latest acquisitions from the in-season trade market.
USHL issues nine suspensions while several teams will try to join Fargo and Waterloo as playoff locks this weekend
Chicago's Harvey becomes franchise goal leader, Waterloo's Croteau continues stellar play with back-to-back wins in Fargo and Green Bay's Artyom Levshunov named USHL DOTW for second time this season

When Tucker was playing travel hockey as a kid, the rink was an escape for both him and his mom. To use his words, hockey provided a place to take out his frustration and get his mind off of what was happening at home.

He hopes what he’s doing now can serve the same purpose for the kids fighting cancer themselves.

Tucker Shedd 1.JPG
Tucker Shedd said he gets all of his toughness from his mom. After seeing what she dealt with throughout her cancer treatment, Shedd said it gives him a different perspective when dealing with an injury or struggles himself. Even when he took a skate to the neck last season, Shedd said his first thought was “it could always be worse.”
Contributed / The Shedd Family

Ten hours away in Michigan, Meagan is “beyond proud” of the work her son is doing.

“This was something he came to us and said he wanted to do last summer. And to think about what he’s been able to grow in such a short amount of time, it’s incredible,” she said. “Some of the time I have to stop and catch myself, because I can’t believe he’s still only 18.


“But for him to learn all of the ins and outs of a nonprofit and have the ambition to help these people, he blows me away. I’m just beyond proud of him.”

Tucker Shedd 2.JPG
Tucker Shedd pictured with his mother, Meagan, last season. Shedd grew up playing travel hockey in New Hampshire and Michigan while Meagan was battling cancer. The long drives and time at the rink served as an escape for both of them. “She put everything aside in her life while she was going through what she was to make sure I was still getting to hockey,” Tucker said. “Those car rides and seeing her wrapped in blankets at games are memories I’ll cherish forever.”
Contributed / The Shedd Family

Tucker quipped Meagan doubles as his mom and business manager. She returned the favor by saying Tucker is the best boss she’s ever worked for and her only salary request is he pays her in hugs.

The two recently put together a business plan, along with the organization’s CFO Ryan Gingras, and Mini Sticks is a registered (501(c)3) organization.

“I think he sees the bigger picture of everything because of what our family has gone through and he has always been adamant that if we’re going to do this, we’re going to do it for the right reasons,” Meagan said. “He went through a lot as a kid and I know he wants to take that and make something better out of it to help other people.”

All of the money raised goes directly back to organizations that are either supporting families or cancer research.

St. Jude’s and Angels Among Us are two of the main organizations Shedd has partnered with this season and fans can also donate on The Mini Sticks CO website.

No matter where hockey takes him, Tucker Shedd wants Mini Sticks to follow him. It’s part of who he is both as a hockey player and a person. And every time he steps on the ice, there’s a subtle reminder on the bottom of his skates.

The initials of his inspiration.


“My Ma is the strongest person I’ve ever seen,” he said. “It was tough watching her struggle but she never showed it and she always acted like nothing was wrong and that nothing could bring her down.

“So for those who are dealing with cancer now, I want to make a positive impact on them however I can. Everyone’s situation is different but I think the end goal of Mini Sticks is to raise as much awareness and help as many people as we can.”

Jordan McAlpine is a junior and prospects reporter for The Rink Live.
What to read next
Black Hawks snaps Fargo's 17-game point streak and clinch a playoff spot while the Musketeers put an end to Tri-City's eight-game win streak
Despite preseason unknown, Gamblers turn culture and four core values into success
Storm on the rise, RoughRiders on a roll and top teams set to square off in Fargo
Storm run win streak to eight, Phantoms sweep Gamblers and best in the west set to square off in Fargo
Get Local