UT hockey club features a few good menWritten by Mike Bauman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Without much outside funding, sponsorship or press, the University of Toledo Ice Hockey Club is quietly making a positive impact on the Toledo community and the players who don the UT sweater when they step on the ice.
“It’s definitely something that’s a point of pride for us,” Rockets’ General Manager Greg Urig said in a phone interview with Toledo Free Press. Urig, who graduated from Toledo last year with his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, spent four years with the UT Ice Hockey Club as a player, serving as team president for three of those years and team captain his senior year.
Urig realized the importance of charity and the impact of giving back after Toledo took on Monroe County Community College’s now defunct club hockey team three years ago, when MCCC invited the Rockets to take part in its Big Brothers Big Sisters charity event.
“That’s what really got the ball rolling,” Urig said. “We saw what a great event that was that they put on, and it was a great opportunity for us. After participating in that event, we’ve really started to push and try to do some more on our own to help raise awareness for different causes [and] help give back to the community that gives us the opportunity to play hockey.”
Toledo has done just that. This year marked the second straight season the Rockets hosted a Cystic Fibrosis Benefit Game, where it raised and donated $2,040 to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, in its contest with Akron at Tam-O-Shanter Nov. 13. That is an increase from last year’s total of more than $1,600. On Oct. 29, Toledo hosted a Kids Night when it played Michigan, where up to three kids got in free with the admission of an adult present in a game that included giveaways, prizes, chuck-a-puck, costume contest and player autographs. In addition, the Rockets will host its third annual Big Brothers Big Sisters game at home on Feb. 19 against Wright State to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Ohio.
Toledo also knows how to have fun. This year marks the second consecutive season for Winterfest, which the club modeled after the NHL’s Winter Classic.
The Rockets will host Jackson Community College from Michigan at Ottawa Park Ice Rink for outdoor games at 3:30 p.m. on Feb. 12 and Feb. 13, which are free for UT students and will feature an open skate afterwards.
Through the sponsorship of the UT Sport Club Council and Campus Activities and Programming, the team hosted a snowman-building contest as well as Snowtag (pronounced Snow-taug), where students built sleds to race on the hill at Parks Tower. The event was modeled after Red Bull’s Flugtag, using sleds instead of flying contraptions. And, in UT Ice Hockey Club fashion, charity is involved with Winterfest.
Proceeds from the games will go to the Cherry Street Mission, and fans who bring canned goods will receive free admission.
“We could be a hockey team and everyone would be OK with it,” Urig said. “No one would fault us for just being a hockey team, but to take on that extra challenge of doing all this charity work, I think it teaches you a lot of great things.”