Dec. 18, 2017
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DENVER - The University of Denver Division of Athletics and Recreation hosted the Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation (DNHF) on Friday night, the Pioneers' hockey series opener against Dartmouth at Magness Arena. Some of the greatest sled hockey players in the world and a couple Denver hockey alumni held an intermission exhibition on the ice on a night that raised over $5,000 to help those in need through the foundation.
Dawg Nation promotes community by creating opportunities in recreational and competitive ice hockey, while supporting players and their families in high standards of health, wellness and fair play. The DNHF began in 2011 as a way to honor a fallen teammate, growing in six years from a small group of adult hockey players to a powerful force in the Colorado Hockey scene. Since its inception, DNHF has raised over $850,000 for hockey families in need.
"After being injured, one of the greatest things that I've been able to experience is great Americans, people that want to give back and want to help people get back on their feet after catastrophic injuries like the one that I suffered," retired U.S. Army Ranger and Purple Heart recipient Josh Hargis said during Friday night's Altitude broadcast.
The participants included a two-time silver medalist in Mono skiing at the X Games, several Colorado Avalanche Sled Hockey players, recipients of the Purple Heart and both Army and Air Force veterans.
"The University of Denver was excited to have the opportunity to host Dawg Nation on Friday night. It was great to be able to give these individuals a chance to get out to Magness Arena for a DU game, while also showcasing the fantastic things that the Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation is doing in the Colorado hockey community," Director of Denver Sales and Service Brian Bardsley said. "We're grateful to Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation for bringing a group-sales record 950 community members to our game, and we look forward to continuing our relationship with Dawg Nation in the future."
A pair of former Denver hockey captains returned to the Magness Arena ice and played in the exhibition. Gabe Gauthier was a two-time captain and National Champion at DU, playing seven seasons of professional hockey between the NHL, AHL, ECHL, CHL and internationally. Aaron MacKenzie was a four-year letter winner and two-time captain at the University of Denver. The 2003 WCHA Co-Defensive Player of the Year scored the first goal in the new Magness Arena on October 15, 1999. MacKenzie played 12 seasons in the NHL, AHL, ECHL, CHL, BDHL and internationally.
"Tonight was a lot of fun," Gauthier said after the second intermission exhibition. "I didn't have any expectations because I hadn't done it before, but to be surrounded with such decorated people made it a great experience. To see them still enjoying the game, the greatest game on earth...it doesn't matter if you are playing on your feet or in a sled, you are still enjoying the game, and to be a part of that through Dawg Nation is an experience that I'll never forget.
"I've been involved with Dawg Nation for almost five years now, since I was with the Cutthroats. I've known Marty (Richardson) for just as long, and he's been able to do so many great things for people that need help, but may be afraid to ask for it."
Dawg Nation has plans to design, build and operate the nation's first three sheet rink complex intended to support both disabled and able-bodied athletes. To learn more visit dawgnation.org.
For all Denver Athletics ticket inquires, call 303-871-GOAL (4625), or visit DenverPioneers.com.
Student-Athlete Alumni Giving Challenge:
In 2017-18, the University of Denver is holding an alumni giving challenge in an effort to increase student-athlete alumni participation in the Denver Athletics Annual Fund. The sport program with the highest percentage of alumni participation will receive an additional $10,000 of support through the generosity of an anonymous donor. Former student-athletes can make a gift online, by calling 303-871-2388 during normal business hours or by sending a check to:
Athletics Development Office
Attn: Kaley Rickert
2201 E. Asbury Avenue
Denver, CO 80208
Fans interested in making a donation to the Pioneer Movement Annual Fund can do so by clicking here. Your contribution will make a direct impact on the success of YOUR Pioneers. Thank you in advance for your unwavering support of our student-athletes and their quest for excellence.
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