“It’s beer-league, but at least we’re doing something good,” the promoter said.
The promoter, Mark Pareti, raised more than $30,000 on Saturday, Aug. 17, for the Wounded Warrior Project by putting together a hockey event that mixed ages and genders.
The Hockey-A-Thon, held at Twin Rinks Ice Arena in Buffalo Grove, had three winners: the two Green teams, which both went 2-0, and the non-profit Project, which benefits injured veterans of the armed services.
“We did a lot better than we hoped for,” Pareti said of the still-growing fundraising sum.
The games attracted 74 hockey players, who Pareti said he mixed as evenly as he could into six teams. The event featured four and a half hours of hockey on the facility’s rinks. Ages ranged from the early 20s to the early 60s, and the rosters included several father-son tandems, numerous sets of brothers, and one father-daughter pair.
It was Pareti’s second tournament — the first Hockey-A-Thon, held at Twin Rinks in 2011, featured only four teams and raised $14,000. He said maintenance work at the facility a year ago kept him from promoting a 2012 edition.
A frequent skater at Twin Rinks for the past 15 years, Pareti said he got the idea for the Hockey-A-Thon simply from reading about the Wounded Warrior Project’s work with disabled veterans.
“We could play hockey, and raise money for something,” he said. “Pretty soon, we had about 60 players who got involved.”
This year’s success came from an improved marketing model, he said: Ask your friends for beer-league money.
“Last time, only about half the players understood what I was trying to do for raising money,” said Pareti, adding that in 2011, many participants believed the only fundraising was their admission fee. “I think we did a way better job this time of informing players how to ask for donations.”
Gunzo’s hockey supply store in Morton Grove furnished the green, orange and blue jerseys with the Project’s logo on them at cost. Twin Rinks donated an hour of ice time and sponsors paid for the rest. With that group of supporters squared away, Pareti said he hopes to have a 2014 Hockey-A-Thon, and beyond.
“The consensus is we’ll try to make this an annual thing,” he said.