Aug. 19, 2010
East Lansing, Mich. - For hockey fans, August is traditionally a slow month - but thanks to a group of former Michigan State hockey players, an afternoon during the dog days of August turned into a fun, spirited afternoon of hockey and goodwill.
The second annual "Skate with the Pros" was held on Wednesday at Munn Ice Arena. Nearly 30 former Spartan icers - all readying for training camp in some level of professional hockey - spent the early evening skating with fans and participating in an autograph session at MSU's Munn Ice Arena.
The event was a fundraiser for MSU's "Shoot for a Cure" initiative in the fight against children's cancer, which has raised more than $33,000 since it was founded in January 2008. The success of this initiative has come from chuck-a-puck at MSU home games, but MSU's professional players have played a huge part, too - silent auctions featuring autographed memorabilia donated by former Spartan players and the Skate with the Pros events have helped generate a significant portion of the proceeds, which have all gone to children's cancer charities in the local Lansing area. The money raised at Wednesday's event will be shared by Sparrow Hospital and the Brandon's Defense Foundation.
The pros span from the most recent class of Spartans getting ready for a professional debut to the veterans - Steve Guolla last pulled on a Michigan State game jersey before most of the children in attendance were born (1995). The recent favorites - guys like Justin Abdelkader, Jeff Lerg - were there to reminisce with some young fans about their memories of MSU's national championship in 2007, and Abdelkader and Drew Miller excited the Red Wing fans with a chance to interact with hometown heroes.
SKATE WITH THE PROS PARTICIPANTS
Goaltenders: Jeff Lerg, Bobby Jarosz; Defensemen: John-Michael Liles, Andrew Hutchinson, Mike Weaver, Ethan Graham, Jared Nightingale, Brandon Warner, Michael Ratchuk, Corey Potter, Jeff Petry, Brandon Gentile; Forwards: Justin Abdelkader, Tim Kennedy, Jim Slater, Drew Miller, Tim Crowder, Chris Mueller, Jim McKenzie, Corey Tropp, Nick Sucharski, Zak McClellan, Adam Hall, Mike York, Jay Sprague, Steve Guolla