Dave McGrath with Finz, the Worcester Sharks mascot, and Blades, the Boston Bruins mascot, at Skating for Hope in 2012 Photo by Dave McGrath
The 3rd annual ‘Skating for Hope’ fundraiser will be held on Sept. 20-21 at the Hart Center at the College of the Holy Cross. The event, which has been held the previous two years at Buffone rink in Worcester, is a 24-hour event to raise money for the Hope Lodge in Worcester, which provides free, temporary lodging to cancer patients receiving treatment at Boston and Worcester medical centers, and their caregivers.
“The idea came to me in 2009 when I was skating at Buffone Arena,” said founder Dave McGrath, a cancer survivor and the night manager for Hope Lodge. “There wasn’t much going on that day, and the manager let me and my friend skate for about four hours. As we were skating, I asked my friend if she thought it was possible to go for 24 hours. I had heard about Gordy Klatt (who started the Relay for Life) running and walking for 24 hours straight, and I thought taking that idea to a hockey rink for Hope Lodge would work well.”
In its first two years, the event raised $30,000 for Hope Lodge; this year, the goal is $25,000. Funds are raised in a variety of ways: there is a donation to participate as a skater, opportunities for friends and family to “sponsor” a skater and some big-ticket raffle items, including a $2,000 bubble hockey game donated by Super Chexx, an autographed Bruins stick, Pearl Jam tickets, and a game worn Holy Cross jersey.
“Dick Regan came to me after speaking with Dave and his father (Paul McGrath ’68), and I felt that it was a great way to start the year and get people on campus up to the Hart Center and support such a great cause,” said Bob Neville, director of athletic facilities at Holy Cross. “Dave has been working hard to make this event a success and we felt that a venue like the Hart Center ice rink on the Holy Cross campus would be the perfect place for the event to grow. The College community has always had a storied history of supporting such events and we thought that it would be a great opportunity for students, faculty and staff to get involved.”
The event will begin at 5 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 20 and conclude at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 21. In addition to open skate times, there will be scheduled hockey games between local high school teams, a youth hockey game with the Worcester Junior Sharks, a college alumni game featuring alumni from Holy Cross, Boston College and Boston University, and a Buffone Stars game featuring players from the Worcester fire and police departments. There will also be a midnight showing of “Slap Shot,” a movie about a hockey team that resorts to unconventional motives to gain attention in a failing town (1977, rated R), as well as a guest appearance by one of the movie’s stars, Paul “Dr. Hook” D’Amato. A full schedule of events, as well as volunteer, participant and donation information, can be found on the event website.