Hockey is More Than Just a Game

Posted: January 12, 2015 at 4:37 pm, Last Updated: January 12, 2015 at 4:41 pm

Photo By: Matt Ricciardi

Photo By: Matt Ricciardi 

By Megan Randle – Contributing Correspondent

On the surface, hockey is about teamwork, effort and sportsmanship. However, to George Mason University hockey, hockey is much more than that. GMU strives to make a difference in their community and show that what they do can truly impact lives.

Biannually, GMU has fundraisers to help support different organizations or charities. The first fundraiser of the season is going toward the Children’s Hospital and their Pediatric Oncology department. The department is on a constant search for solutions to various pediatric cancers. The goal is to build a sterile outdoor facility for children to enjoy the sunshine and views from beyond the hospital walls.

On Saturday, Dec. 13, GMU hosted Virginia Commonwealth University for an exhibition game. They took home the W and the Commonwealth Cup with an 8-2 final. The ice for the game was donated by the Prince William Ice rink owners, Bill and Pat Hutzler.

At the game, a 12-year-old patient at Children’s Hospital, Kyle Hahne, did the ceremonial puck drop with his father Rob. Two sponsors, Jeff Newman from Glory Days and Bob Seigle from Continental Consulting, joined them for the puck drop. Hahne just finished three and a half years of chemotherapy and radiation therapy for leukemia. He is currently in remission.

Spectators and supporters were given the option to donate online, at the game or through the silent auction on the day of the event. Overall, the team raised around $17,200 for Children’s Hospital, not far from their initial goal of $20,000. GMU typically raises more than $35,000 in their two major exhibition games to support community groups in the Washington metropolitan area.

Head coach Steve Hyjek believes this is the chance to show that hockey is so much more than just a game. While the game teaches competitiveness and effort, it also teaches how to be a good person in general.

“It’s important for the players to understand their involvement and the impact they’re making,” Hyjek said.

Hyjek mentioned that events like this don’t happen overnight. It took about two months for Hyjek and the team to put everything together to make the event run smooth and to be successful.

Even as individuals, GMU hockey players take initiative to help the community in whatever way possible. Throughout the season, players will volunteer their time on Saturday mornings with USA Hockey to teach those with special needs how to skate. Four graduates of GMU have gone on to coach youth hockey teams.

“This is where you impact people’s lives and give back,” Hyjek said. “That’s all we need.”

GMU’s next event will be on Valentine’s Day 2015 in conjunction with their annual alumni game. They will be fundraising for the Fisher House Foundation, which provides free or low cost lodging to veterans and military families receiving treatment at military medical centers.


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