The Pirates ice hockey team played in the North Jersey Ice Thriller to help the victims of the earthquake in Haiti. The game was played outdoors at the Englewood Field Club last Sunday Jan. 31, to raise money towards, UNICEF’s Haiti relief fund.
The UNICEF is the United Nations Children’s Emergency Fund main goal is to help the children of the world after disasters.
“It’s nice to give back and make an impact on people in a time of need,” team captain Bob Patlen said.
The game had many different ways to raise money for the relief fund in addition to the cost of game tickets. Raffles were set up to raise more money towards tickets to future New Jersey Devils hockey games. A puck toss game was held for the chance to win a signed Jamie Langenbrunner stick which was donated towards the cause.
“NJIT approached us in early January about playing an outdoor game,” Assistant Director of Recreational Services Brian Poll said. “The purpose of the game was for a great cause.”
One of the things that helped raise the interest in the game beyond the cause was the fact that it was played outdoors, similar to the National League’s “Winter Classic.”
“With the popularity of the NHL’s Winter Classic, we wanted to give an outdoor game a try,” Poll said.
The game was the first time the Seton Hall hockey team played a game outdoors.
“[The game] was great,” Patlen said. “It was a nice change of scenery and the way that ice hockey should really be played.”
The only drawback of the game being played outdoors was that it was away from the team’s home ice at AmeriHealth Pavilion, the New Jersey Devils’ practice rink next to the Prudential Center.
“We would have loved to have the game closer,” said Poll. “There just aren’t too many outdoor rinks in the [Newark] area.”
The location of the game might have affected the size of the crowd, especially the student crowd, with parents making up most of the crowd.
“The game was exactly what we hoped for,” said Poll. “Two local teams coming together and giving the players a unique playing experience while raising money for a good cause.”
The amount of money that was raised by the event is not known at this time.
The Pirates won the charity game against the Highlanders, 9-0, and play their next game on the road Friday night against the University of Pennsylvania.
“It was a nice surprise to play in the Thriller especially since we did not have any games that weekend,” Patlen said. “In the end, everyone was a winner.”
Stephen Valenti can be reached at email@example.com.