After almost two years, MI-UCP was finally able to hold its 20th Charity Hockey Event at St Mary’s Arena on Saturday, March 19, 2022. Thank you really isn’t enough to express how grateful we are to the UCP Pucksters, the Detroit Red Wing Alumni, the new Metro Detroit Sled Hockey Program and the UCP Sledsters. Our players and all their contributors and sponsors raised a tremendous amount for MI-UCP. More $35,000 (including carryover from our canceled 2020 event) was brought in before doors were even opened at Orchard Lake St. Mary’s Arena.
Bravo to our 2022 sponsors—MGM Grand Detroit, Peter Oleksiak, Doner Advertising, Szott Ford/DealsintheD.com, Stahls, The Tighe Group (Morgan Stanley), The Mitten State and Cutters Studios. Thanks as always go to those who ran program ads, made in-kind donations, bought 50/50 tickets or made donations at the event.
In all, the event raised more than$47,300! Absolutely amazing (That is the humbling part--our players selflessly work to raise funds and to bring people to the event). And while “thank you” is not enough, we will continue to say thanks. And thanks again to Darren McCarty and the Wings Alumni who brought out a line up including Joe Kocur, Jimmy Carson, Pat Peake, Brent Fedyk, Craig Wolanin, Dennis Hextall, Dean Kolstad and many more.
To all the volunteers including Angie Ward, who curated and ran the rummage sale with the help of Andrea Simon and Gail Offen, April and Rich Kaylor for operating the 50/50 sales, Leslynn Angel and Colleen Tate for the greeting table and players food set up.
Thank you to to Derek Donet, Brandon Robinson, Andrea Dixon and Jack Gershon of the Metro Detroit Sled Hockey Program for bringing your Belle Tire Bombers out to show our crowd what sled hockey is.
The UCP Sledsters welcomed back sled players Craig Duncan, Chuck Cassavoy, Chris Taylor, Alan Simonelli, Steve Spata and Chris Moore along with newcomers Garold Vallie, Jay Lowman, Anthony Boyle and Jake Cooper (whose brother Noah stepped in goal). We also had the return of Marc Henretta (former Michigan Sled Dog captain) An FYI, Chris Taylor, Anthony Boyle and Jake Cooper played both games). Each player really worked hard, up and down the ice and the game was close. For the fifth year running Craig Duncan was our top sled money raiser for 2022, with a record $4,027.57. Thanks to a gift certificate from Red Wing Alumni Dean Kolstad, Craig recieved a round of golf for four at Stoatin Brae Golf Course as well as a Darren McCarty signed UCP Puckster jersey. Other top money raisers were: Jake & Noah Cooper $1,558.25, Chris Moore at $1,374.28, Alan Simonelli at $1,000.36 and Chris Taylor at $750.34.
In 2022, we had 12 Sledsters and Pucksters who each raised more than $1,000 to benefit MI-UCP! UCP Pucksters Mike Ward ($3,227.90), Jay Adams ($2,725.00), Frank Svincek ($2,204.71), Erich Wiemer (could not play so Drew Renaud stepped in) ($1,700.52), newby Sam Genetti ($1,309.33), Rich Sommers ($1,320.50), Don Button ($1,053.53) and Chris Clark ($1,021.58). Rich Sommers also provided our hockey socks. Paul Sabatini’s company (Stahls) created the jerseys. Szott Ford and DealsInTheD.com (a sponsorship brought in by Jay Adams) Craig Conrad, Steve Howcroft, Nick Defenthaler, Keith Starr and Tyler Mikalonis were also all near the $900 mark!
Emma Guzman stepped in for Ali McManus and beautifully sang the national anthem like it has never been sung! Huge thank you’s go to MI-UCP President & CEO, Leslynn Angel and staff Sarah Johnson, Mary Davis and Tamara Kincaid.
Anna Dusbiber Gossage (who is a recent recipient of the UCP Life Without Limits Award for her work at Center For Independent Living in Ann Arbor) joined us for the ceremonial puck drop with Puckster Jake Cooper and Red Wing and four-time Stanley Cup Champion, Darren McCarty. Thank you to MI-UCP board members Ken Bluhm (chair), David Brown, Steve Lyons, Michelle O’Connor-Teklinski, April Kaylor (and Rich Kaylor), Tom Landry, Kristen Milefchik, Colleen Tate, Jacqueline Kaufman, Gina Adams and Zach Damon who all pitched in.
Game Notes: Once again, we knew the Red Wing Alums would be tough in 2022. They got the first two goals before Pucksters Craig Conrad got on the board only to have the Alums strike repeatedly for a 5-1 lead. Drew Ranaud scored on a beautiful deke making it 5-2 right before the the break. The Pucksters tightened up the game at 6-5 before the each side scored one more for a 7-6 final. The Pucksters scoring was Conrad with two tallies, Renaud (skating for Erich Wiemer), Brian Bonsall, Paul Sabatini and Anthony Boyle (skating for Jeff German). Goalie Tyler Mikalonis was peppered early and often in the first half before the Pucksters used the break (and all those Alumni legs probably stiffened up) to come back behind the second period offense and netminding of Matt Fields.
Hats off to the Alums and to St. Mary’s for helping us to pull this event off.
Thank you to the many volunteers, especially Paul Dobroczynski and John Smith for their help with the set up at St. Mary’s. And to the timekeeper Lisa Shattuck and announcer/scorer, Justin Taylor. Additional event help came from Jay and Shannon Adams, Steve Spata (who helped break down and package all the sleds) , Coach Bill Petrere, Hardy Segall, Craig Duncan and Matt Kwapis of Mobility Sports for assisting with the USA Disabled Hockey Sled Lending Program. And thank you Alex Johnson for taking such amazing photos.
Game photos are available at https://flic.kr/s/aHBqjzH7XC