Nineteen-year-old Neil Conway is a senior at Thayer Academy in Braintree; and while he’s a star on his high school hockey team, he’s an ever bigger star on another team.

“God gave me ability to play hockey at the level I do, so in return I’ll have the patience and the will to help kids who don’t have the opportunity,” said Neil Conway, Thayer Academy.

For the past seven years, on Saturday mornings, Neil volunteers with the Boston Bear Cubs, a special hockey team for children and young adults with developmental disabilities.

“Community service means a lot to me, for giving back to the people that don’t have as much as I do,” Conway said.

Right now the Bear Cubs have about 28 players, ranging in age from seven to their mid 20’s.

“There’s six or seven that have down syndrome, and they push carts around, and we help them skate and have fun and wheel them around and everything,” said Conway.

Founder John Quill says Neil is the players’ favorite coach!

“He’s a great kid, great mentor, kids flock to him, he really can relate to kids who have challenging behaviors,” said John Quill, Boston Bear Cubs.

Neil even recruited some of his high school buddies to help out.

“It feels really good inside to help these kids, to see the smiles on their faces, even a small act, playing the game you love,” said Steven Henriquez, Neil’s teammate.

Neil has been volunteering since he was 12, and even though he’ll be leaving for college next year, he says he will always find ways to give back.

“The gifts that you have could put a smile on someone else’s face,” Conway said.

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