The 1st Annual Hockey Fights MS Buffalo Tournament has come to a close! Seven teams representing the Buffalo area, New Jersey, Maryland, and Pennsylvania came together to battle it out all in support of fighting MS! We had some really exciting games including three ties in the womens division including a championship game overtime win and a 6-person shootout in the Co-Ed Consolation game. Congratulations to HamSauced for wining the Co-Ed Division and We're Not MSing Around for winning the women's division. Special thanks to all the players, volunteer scorekeepers and referees, and spectators who came out to the rink this weekend to show your support. We will be posting fundraising totals as soon as everything has been tallied.
For over ten years, Hockey Fights MS has been raising money for research into the cause, cure and treatment of multiple sclerosis and towards helping to improve the lives of those living with multiple sclerosis by supporting local rehabilitation centers. None of this would be possible without the help of our dedicated staff and volunteers. Two of these volunteers are Matthew Druckenmiller and Zack Sturm, a pair of friends who have been referees for several years. This past year both Matthew and Zack chose to donate their time for all of the games they officiated. We would like to take a moment to introduce these two exemplary officials and acknowledge the hard work they put forth for a great cause.
Matthew Druckenmiller has played hockey since he was five years old, and after 21 years his passion for the game only grows stronger. At the moment, Matthew plays for the Williamsport Reapers when he is not officiating. It was ten years ago that both Matthew's desire for more ice time and more involvement in the sport he loves sparked his career as an official.
Thanks to an email from a local referee assigner six years ago, Matthew learned of the Hockey Fights MS organization. He began officiating for the events in Bethlehem, PA and then added the Burlington, VT tournament the last three years. Shortly after starting to work the tournaments Matthew began donating his time. He felt that, "It was time to start giving back to the game and to help raise money for the local MS organizations." When asked what his favorite thing is about Hockey Fights MS he responded, "The hockey, and also being able to contribute in any way I can to the great cause that the tournaments are for." Matthew was very enthusiastic that he would, without a doubt, recommend these events to anyone who wants to be involved with an organization that is so dedicated to their mission of helping others. He has already recruited his friend Zack, along with several other friends and acquaintances.
Zack Sturm started playing roller hockey at age seven and began playing ice hockey as a freshman in high school. He is a captain today for the Williamsport Reapers in the Susquehanna Valley Hockey League where he and Matthew are teammates. This year was the fifth year that Zack has officiated at the Hockey Fights MS tournaments.
Zack became a referee because of his love for the game. it was a way to not only get to know more about hockey, but also a way to earn some money. "It is not very often we can find a way to get paid for something we love," says Zack. It was in high school that he began officiating and he continues to love what he does. Zack donates his time because he has been personally impacted by people close to him who are dealing with multiple sclerosis, and he feels this is a good way to show his support. He believes his time volunteering is 100% worth his while and that it is a "win/win" being able to donate to this organization, whether it be as a player or a referee.
When asked what he enjoys most about Hockey Fights MS, Zack responded, "I enjoy every aspect of the MS tournaments, they are very well put together by Candice and her staff." He went on to say that he would recommend these tournaments to any player or referee. He feels that, "This is the best hockey tournament I have ever been involved in."
Both Matthew and Zack have many memories such as tailgating at Musikfest in between games in Bethlehem, meeting a multitude of great people in Vermont, and being able to officiate in places such as the University of Vermont which would not be possible if it weren't for their involvement with the organization. They are both very grateful and anticipate adding to these memories as they continue to volunteer with Hockey Fights MS.
- Written by Ashley Lanning
Dawn Reeps is a long-time hockey player. Today she plays with the Lightning out of West Chester, PA and is her team's utility player. While these days she mostly plays defense, she has has also filled the role of winger, center and even goalie.
Dawn is not only a veteran hockey player, she is a veteran of the Hockey Fights MS Tournaments. She has played in the tournaments since their inception in 2005. Since then, she has played each year and last year became a Hockey Fights MS "hat-tricker" by playing in the Maryland, Vermont and Pennsylvania Tournaments. This year, Dawn breaks that record by also registering to play in the inaugural Massachusetts Tournament which will take place June 20-22 in Andover, MA. In addition to playing in four Hockey Fights MS Tournaments this year, Dawn also volunteers her "free time" by helping to scorekeep some of the games.
When asked which is her favorite tournament, Dawn reluctantly chooses Vermont over Pennsylvania. She loves the city of Burlington and spending time kayaking on Lake Champlain between games. She does say that Pennsylvania comes in a close second as her local tournament where she gets to play with many of her friends and take advantage of the area's largest local music festival - called Musikfest - which coincides with the annual tournament.
Dawn's favorite Hockey Fights MS memory is when her team became the Vermont Tournament Champions in 2012 where they finally took down a team from Massachusetts whom they had battled for many years. Dawn also remembers when she first heard about Hockey Fights MS years ago while playing with a local team called the Wicked. She played with a woman who she learned suffered from MS. She later found out that the woman's daughter had also been diagnosed with MS and was the person who founded this tournament in hopes to raise enough money to someday help find a cure for MS.
When asked what the Hockey Fights MS Tournaments mean to her, Dawn says "I get to play hockey and raise money for a great cause at the same time - all while having fun and meeting great people."
- Written by Angela Balch