Outdoor game has winning formula for teams, charity
When the North Hills Indians and Moon Area Tigers varsity ice hockey clubs take the ice on Jan. 25 at the North Park Ice Rink, they will be playing for more than the No. 1 spot in their division.
As part of the Pennsylvania Interscholastic Hockey League Outdoor, or PIHL, Charity Series, all of the game proceeds will go to the Pittsburgh chapter of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, a foundation that raises money for research on breast cancer and to spread awareness about the disease.
PIHL officials were inspired to have charity hockey games after the Pittsburgh Penguins played in the Winter Classic to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Fund about five years ago, said Ed Sam of Greensburg, PIHL commissioner.
The league has four charity hockey games each season and has raised about $150,000 altogether since the charity series began, Sam said.
“We'll keep it at four games,” Sam said. “We want to make sure that it has meaning, and if we do too many games, it will lose its meaning.”
In addition to the juvenile diabetes organization and Susan G. Komen, other games are played during the season to benefit the Hillman Cancer Center and the PIHL Paul Sciullo II Memorial Scholarship, Sam said.
All proceeds from ticket and official game T-shirt sales for the North Hills-Moon Area game will go to the Komen foundation.
Shirts can be preordered for the game at a cost of $12 and are gray shirts with the charity game logo and a pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness, said Mike Yeomens, 41, of Ross Township, a board member of the North Hills hockey club.
The T-shirts will cost $15 at the game. Ticket/T-shirt combo packages are available.
“Anyone who is a hockey fan should come out to support a good cause,” Yeomans said. “These games raise the profile of high school hockey.”
The players will use pink tape on their hockey sticks to represent the Komen foundation and have to prepare somewhat differently for a game held outdoors, said Brandon Dudt-Mulzet, head coach of the North Hills Senior High School varsity hockey team.
“The being-outside element is the biggest adjustment because of the cold,” said Dudt-Mulzet, 29, of Ross. “It will be new and exciting for a lot of the kids, and that definitely makes it worth it.”
The game also is a “pretty big deal” because the two teams are tied for first place in Section I of PIHL AA hockey, Dudt-Mulzet said. This is the first time the two teams will play each other this season, and North Hills wants to avenge last year's loss to Moon Area in that Outdoor Charity Series game.
“I think it's going to be really competitive, but there's also a lot of mutual respect between the teams,” Dudt-Mulzet said. “It's always going to be a good game.”
Melanie Donahoo is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.