When the Lebanon Valley College ice hockey team takes the ice Friday night, it does so with a great purpose. The team will be facing the U.S. Naval Academy in the third annual Military Appreciation Night game to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project – an initiative that has already raised over $35,000 in its first two years.
Leading up to the game, the team has been selling t-shirts and running its annual jersey auction. The team is wearing its custom-designed camouflage jerseys for one game only before turning them over to auction winners. Bidding has been live online at GoDutchmen.com all month and will continue online until Friday at noon. In-person bids will be accepted in the Bears Den at Hersheypark Arena during the game.
The team will also be holding raffles and a silent auction for a number of prizes throughout the night. The list of prizes will continue to grow leading up to game time. Raffle items already include a signed Evgeni Nabakov San Jose Sharks jersey, Pittsburgh Steelers basket, Reebok bundle, Mr. Coffee pot, custom LVC table and wall decorations, LVC athletics apparel, and gift certificates to a number of area restaurants and businesses. Silent auction items include Titleist and Wilson golf bags, a Ryan Howard autographed baseball, and other sports memorabilia.
Ship 91, Navy Club of Lebanon committed $5,000 to the fundraiser in August and will present a check to the team during pregame ceremonies. Pregame will also include ceremonial puck drops from LVC president Lewis Thayne and Ship 91’s junior executive officer George M. Gilbert Sr. Gilbert has served this country since the Vietnam War era – first in active duty with the Marines and later with the Army Reserves.
Last year’s team received LVC’s President’s Award at Founders Day for their continued efforts to the Wounded Warrior Project and other charities. Military Appreciation Night was started under former LVC assistant coach Spiros Anastas ’10 and continues under the guidance of head coach Don Parsons, with team leadership from senior Matthew Turner ’13 and junior Tyler Skroski ’14.
VIDEO: Click here to hear comments from Tyler Skroski on why you should attend
The Dutchmen are undefeated through six games this season. Freshman Jimmy McNally ’16 currently leads the team with five goals.
Last year’s team was unable to beat Navy in either of two meetings but kept the game close in a 3-2 loss on Military Appreciation Night.
Gates open Friday night at 6 p.m. The puck drops an hour later.