The U16 Ice Hawks are in the Motown for the Tier II National Championships and already have a 4-1 and 6-5 overtime victories under their belts as of April 4th. Showing their support for the local team the community turned out for a steak feed send off and fund raiser Friday, March 29th at the Soldotna Sports Center. Don Chenault manned the ConocoPhillips barbeque grilling the steaks to order and as the public arrived and took a seat beneath a team member’s jersey who waited their table. Team captain TJ Wagoner took a break to talk with the Dispatch and said he was pretty excited about traveling to the hockey capitol of the USA to play with his team, “We got the invitation by taking second at state and our strategy will be to stay out of the penalty box, stay on the ice and get some goals,” said TJ.
Ice Hawks coach Vaughn Dosko was proud of his team and the community as they lined up for dinner, “I’ve never been to Detroit, but it’s definitely Hockey Town USA so for these kids that have grown up here on the Peninsula it’ll be one of the biggest experiences of their lives after having only played in Anchorage or having seen a Brown Bear game. That’s as big a game as they, so Hockey Town USA will be a huge experience for them. For me it’s a huge experience playing with some of the best players and coaches in the nation, so we’re just going to go and play the best hockey we know how. I have Canadian roots so we’ll take a Canadian style of hockey back to Detroit and the kids are peaking at the right time so we just might shock the rest of the states and put Alaska hockey on the map,” Dosko told the Dispatch. Assistant Coach Kenai Fire Chief Mike Tilley is also with the team in Detroit and expressed his appreciation to the community for stepping up to help the boys with such short notice, “There wasn’t much time from when we earned the right to play at nationals and the tournament to do much fund raising but we’ve had great support from the community as you can tell from the turn out here tonight. We struck at the right time because everybody is excited about Brown Bear hockey on the Peninsula and the success that KPHA is having here locally and for us to be able to represent our community and our state at nationals is a big thing for everyone,” said Tilley.
Donations may still be made to support the Ice Hawks through the Kenai Peninsula Hockey Assoc. at the Lucky Puck, “We set a goal to meet that we anticipated the costs to be, but we know what the real costs are until we return so any additional contributions will be greatly appreciated and help meet our goal,” added Tilley.