Hockey helps Haiti


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The Iowa hockey club has lost a lot more games than expected this season, but after the Jan. 12 earthquake rocked Haiti, the IceHawks realized others worldwide have faced much tougher losses.

The temblor inspired the squad to make the Haiti relief effort the focus of its annual fundraiser for the 2009-10 club hockey season.

Led by head coach Nick White, a silent auction of brand-new IceHawks jerseys will take place on Saturday during the Gold team’s game against Missouri.

“I guess we’re just hoping that people come out to follow Iowa,” White said. “But in the big scheme of things, I hope they come out to support a good cause and do what they can to help.”

Last season, the team hosted a similar event to raise money for breast-cancer research. The team auctioned off a pink game jerseys, and, White said, each one brought in upwards of $100.

The IceHawks have even higher hopes for this weekend’s benefit, though.

Based on last year’s fundraiser, players are confident they can collect a few thousand dollars this year by selling 25 jerseys.

And instead of hosting the upcoming contest at its usual arena in the Coral Ridge Mall, the club will play at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena, the home of the Cedar Rapids Rough Riders.

With a typical IceHawk game that attracts between 200 and 300 people, team captain Graeme Laxton said, he hopes moving the event to a larger, more notable venue will attract a larger crowd.
White agreed.

“We got a good turnout last year, but I think we’ll get even more this year because we have a little more coverage with Haiti being all over the news,” he said. “Plus, these jerseys will be even more appealing to Hawkeye fans in general because they are black and gold rather than pink.”

Sponsors and friends of the club funded the new jerseys, which cost around $65 each, he said.

Because the organization didn’t pay for the uniforms, all of the proceeds will go directly to the American Red Cross in Cedar Rapids.

In addition to raising funds for Haiti, Laxton said he thinks the event will raise his teammates’ morale as well.

Team President Austin Ladd said the IceHawks will need all the confidence they can muster to play Missouri. In last season’s league tournament, Missouri defeated Iowa in triple overtime.

Although the club team currently boasts a 14-11-1 overall record, Ladd said, the season has been “disappointing.”

“We entered into this season with the most talent we’ve ever had,” he said. “We had really high expectations, but it’s been kind of a roller-coaster ride. We’ve beaten some teams we shouldn’t have but lost to some teams we shouldn’t have lost to. It’s hard to predict what will happen Saturday.”

The Haiti relief efforts still have a long way to go, and despite the outcome of this weekend’s matchup, the benefit is a positive conclusion to the IceHawks’ year, White said.

“[The players] were all pretty jazzed about it,” he said. “They realize it’s for a good cause. I wanted to raise their awareness of how well they have it here in Iowa City, at the university, and in the U.S. in general.”

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