ECHL teams are always giving back to their local communities. Here’s a look at some recent events from select teams.
Allen – For the second year in a row, the Allen Americans were invited to be a part of a floor hockey game at Daffron Elementary School in Plano. Americans’ players Chad Costello, Casey Pierro-Zabotel, Joel Rumpel, and broadcaster Tommy Daniels, joined the faculty team to play against the students. The students beat the faculty and Americans squad 7-6 in a shootout. “This was so much fun,” said Costello. “I think we were having as much fun, if not more than the kids. A special thanks to the staff at Daffron Elementary for having us back for a second year in a row.” The players signed autographs for the kids following the event.
Atlanta – Every spring, the Gladiators visit the Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta campus to spread some cheer to those who unfortunately are currently battling health issues. On March 16, the Glads visited the campus and brought some of the stuffed animals collected from Teddy Bear Toss. The players spent a few hours going around the hospital making new friends and having fun with the patients!
Colorado – After starting the “Pot of Gold” Game five years ago, the Colorado Eagles have raised close to $150,000 for families faced with the financial hardships that come with caring for a sick child. This year’s recipient of the Pot of Gold fundraiser was Megan Hoover, who also celebrated her 10th birthday during the game on March 19. In 2014, Megan was diagnosed with a rare form of leukodystrophy called Alexander Disease, and by fall of 2014, Megan was nearly 100% dependent on a wheelchair for her mobility. The Hoover family has already invested extensive amounts of money and time to convert their home to a more wheelchair-accessible living space and the Eagles hoped to change the Hoover family’s luck this year. Through the auction of specially designed Irish-themed jerseys worn by the Eagles players during the game, along with donations from Eagles fans and corporate partners, the team raised nearly $50,000 for Megan and her family. During the game, the Eagles presented Megan and her family with a brand new Toyota Sienna minivan and a check for more than $16,000 to help adapt the van for her needs. After the game, Megan and her family were invited down to the locker room to meet the team, where all the players signed her jersey and sang “Happy Birthday” to her!
Evansville – On March 29, six IceMen players, along with Assistant Coach Dave Leger and Director of Community Relations Crystal Elliott, visited The Good Samaritan Home. The home is dedicated to providing long term health care needs for the elderly. On this visit, the players visited with residents that do not often get visitors. The players ending up visiting more residents than just the four who were pre-selected, and even took a tour of the facility! The players really bonded with the residents and were eager to go back and visit with them again.
Idaho – On March 15, Steelheads’ players Taylor Peters and Andrew Panzarella worked with Idaho Food Bank and the Idaho Beef Council, to deliver food packages to senior citizens. The players sorted and packed over 70 food boxes, then delivered them to residents of the Mallard Pointe Apartments.
Quad City –On March 15, the Mallards visited children on the Rock Island Arsenal military base for the third year in a row. The Mallards players and mascot signed autographs and thanked the men and women in the armed forces during the visit to the base. A few of the players played floor hockey with about 30 of the kids in attendance at the event.
Wheeling– The highlight event for the Nailers from the middle of March was a trip to Augusta Levy Learning Center in Wheeling. Augusta Levy Learning Center is the first intensive autism treatment program in the Ohio Valley. When the players first arrived, the program directors gathered everyone in a circle for a warm-up with stretching and movement, as well as music playing in the background. Once everyone was loosened up, it was time for the kids to perform such activities as the balance beam, tumbles, and a tunnel, with the Nailers players coaching them along. The afternoon concluded with a kickball game.