Mason Hockey Raises Money for Military Charities

Posted: January 7, 2013 at 9:21 am, Last Updated: January 8, 2013 at 2:17 pm

The Ice Hockey team raised a total of $16,890 for two children’s charities in their third annual community fundraiser game.

Steve Hyjek started the event three years ago when he became the head coach at Mason as a way for the team to give back to the community.

“It is part of our program to do some community outreach and elevate the visibility of our program on campus,” Hyjek said.  “It is something that is important to me.  For me to be able take some of the skills that I have in life and some of the love that I have for the sport of hockey and use that to benefit others.”

Representatives from the Washington Capitals and the Department of Defense were also on hand to help the team raise money for charities Our Military Kids and So Kids Can.

Our Military Kids provides support for children whose parents are overseas in the National Guard and Military Reserve as well as children of Wounded Warriors.  So Kids Can is affiliated with the Washington Capitals and help kids in need in the Washington D.C metropolitan area.  Each group received half of the money raised.

Aside from donations and ticket sales, there were raffles and silent auctions to help raise money.

The silent auction included items such as a Brian Orakpo signed jersey and hockey stick signed by the 2012-2013 Washington Capitals team along with other NFL, NHL, NBA and MLS autographed items.  Volunteers, many who are not even affiliated with the team, helped run both events.

“These are all friends.  Some of them have no connection to George Mason.  They are people that want to help out,” Hyjek said, giving credit to all those who volunteered at the event.  “ It is a team effort.  The players also helped pitch in by selling tickets and helping us with sponsorships.  Doing something like this is an important part of who you are as a person, not just who you are as a player or as a team. It is something we all believe in.  It is something we need to do.”

Volunteer Bonnie Marlar has helped since the event started three years ago and loves what it stand for.

“I love it because he (Hyjek) puts together a lot of great things to donate and it is always for a great cause.  He pulls together a lot of money for the cause.  I just enjoy helping,” Marlar said as she helped potential winners.

As for the game, the Patriots beat the NCR Military Eagles 3-2 in the friendly exhibition behind Seve Cordova’s two goals and an assist.  The Eagles consist of players who are currently serving in the military.  One of the Patriot players, defenseman Nelson Dasilva, is a former Marine and thinks the event to help out military families is for a great cause.

“I think it is for a good cause.  It helps bring exposure to some charities and exposure to the community in terms of Mason as a school.  The community gets to see Mason do good things,” Dasilva said, who completed two tours of Iraq in 2003 and 2004.  “It was a fun game.  Lots of people came out.  The energy was great.”

The Patriots will continue their season this semester looking for wins to keep their playoff hopes alive.

Story by: James Zembriski