Jan. 22, 2013
STORRS, Conn. – Monday morning provided an opportunity for the University of Connecticut women’s hockey team to take a break from the rigors of a Hockey East schedule and focus on giving back to the community in an effort to fundraise for the fight against breast cancer. The Huskies hosted a Skating Strides clinic at the Freitas Ice Forum for youth hockey players ages 8-13. Beginning in 2005, UConn has teamed up with other teams across the league to help raise awareness through Skating Strides.
“The Skating Strides clinic provided the perfect opportunity for our team to meet and work with talented local youth hockey players and doubled as a great way to raise awareness and support for The Friends of Mel Foundation,” said junior Erin Burns. “It was such a fun day designed around a great cause.”
So far, the Huskies have fundraised close to $7,000 through the clinic and fundraising efforts of the student-athletes. Last season, Connecticut raised over $11,000 and have led the entire conference in funds raised since the program’s inception by raising more than $50,000 coming into this season.
Family, friends and fans will still have chances to contribute to the cause throughout the coming weeks. The Huskies will hold their annual “Skating Strides” game on Friday, February 1 against Providence at 7:00 pm. The team’s game-worn pink jerseys from that game will be up for sale to benefit The Friends of Mel Foundation. Those interested can purchase the uniforms at www.friendsofmel.org and can donate by purchasing pink paper skates, t-shirts and other items at the UConn Student Union or upcoming games.
This Friday, there will be a silent auction held at the men’s ice hockey game against AIC at 7:00 pm. Items up for bid include a 2011 autographed Kemba Walker poster, a 2011 men’s basketball National Championship autographed hat, a 2010 women’s basketball National Championship autographed ball, tailgating packages, UConn gear and more.
The participants were put through on- and off-ice workouts instructed by Connecticut student-athletes. Girls and boys alike laced up their skates and donned pink practice jerseys as they hit the ice for the drills. Players were also in awe at the opportunity to practice conditioning drills on the turf in the Shenkman Training Center. The day concluded with a meet-and-greet with Jonathan the Husky and an autograph session with the Huskies.
“I think it’s awesome when our team gets the opportunity to help in our community,” said sophomore Emily Snodgrass; one of the Huskies taking part in on-ice instruction. “We see a lot of kids around the rink and it’s fun to be able to get on the ice with them. The Skating Strides fundraiser is an amazing cause and being able to involve the hockey community with our goals is always a plus.”
More than 125 youth hockey players took part in Monday’s clinic up from 85 in 2012.
Sophomore Sarah MacDonnell was also involved in the on-ice portion of the clinic and stated, “[Monday] was such a great day for everyone involved. Being able to skate, laugh and play with the kids was so rewarding especially being for such a great cause. I’m really not sure who had more fun; me or [the kids]. It definitely makes you proud to be a Husky after a day like that.”
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