Wings Players Sell Their Jerseys off Their Backs
Aberdeen Wings looked awfully similar to a few other hockey teams in the area Saturday night.
In the Wings' 2-1 shootout victory over the Bismarck Bobcats at the Odde Ice Center, the Wings sported blue and gold jerseys to match the colors of the Aberdeen Cougars youth and high school hockey teams as part of a promotion to raise money to support youth hockey.
After the game was over, the players returned to the ice along with Greg Odde, the team's owner, and Merlin Worlie, an auctioneer, to auction off the jerseys.
The jerseys had the same style as a typical Wings jersey, except for the different colors and Cougars patches.
All the money from the auction will go toward supporting the Aberdeen Youth Hockey Association, Aaron Smith, director of media operations and marketing, said.
Mike Carrels, president of the Youth Hockey Association, said the money will be spent on new equipment to support local hockey teams.
"One of the goals of bringing the Wings to Aberdeen was to help the Aberdeen Youth Hockey Association and the youth hockey programs throughout South Dakota grow," Smith said. "This fundraiser is just another way to help build the sport in Aberdeen and throughout the region," he said.
Jaclyn Thomas of Aberdeen said this was the first Wings game she had attended. She was invited by some friends who had ties to the Cougars, Thomas said during the second-period intermission.
She was a fan of the unique jerseys the Wings wore and said she was considering bidding on a jersey once the auction started.
Dan Dalchow of Lake City is the father of Aberdeen Cougars goalie Nick Dalchow. Dan Dalchow said he was pleased with the attendance and hoped it would lead to a lot of bidding.
"It's a good fundraiser with a good turnout. I hope we raise a good amount of money," he said.
The auction brought more than $20,000, Smith said after the auction.
The Wings have done similar jersey auctions to raise money for good causes every season since the team was founded, Smith said.
In 2011, they featured a camouflage-colored jersey sale to raise money for wounded veterans in and around Aberdeen.
In 2012, they sold pink game-worn jerseys to raise money for breast cancer patients and their families in the region
The Wings plan to do similar fundraisers in the coming years. The biggest challenge is deciding who to raise money for when there are so many worthy causes, Smith said.
"We kind of just started up a list. We try to help as many people as we can per year," Smith said.
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