FSU hockey fans give back to community

BIG RAPIDS — The Ferris State University men’s ice hockey program and some of the Bulldogs’ biggest fans recently had an opportunity to give back to the community, leading to a sellout crowd for FSU’s recent home game against the Michigan State Spartans on Jan. 5 at the Ewigleben Ice Arena.

The contest, which was played over the holiday break for Ferris State students, represented the first of two meetings between the Bulldogs and the Spartans in Big Rapids this season. The second matchup takes place this Saturday, Jan. 19, at 7:05 p.m.

During the first game, nearly 100 members of the “Dawg Pound” student section, many of whom were home over the semester and holiday break, donated their tickets back to the hockey program. Those tickets were then in turn distributed to various local non-profit groups throughout the community such as Eagle Village, WISE, Angels in Action and the Salvation Army.

Thanks to the efforts of the students who returned tickets, FSU was able to sellout the game in Big Rapids as 2,490 fans were in the building. A record 600 Ferris State student section season tickets were sold for this season, which meant many of the young fans who attended sat in the same seats normally occupied by one of the most vocal student sections in all of college hockey.

“We appreciate the support of the college students who could not attend, but still wanted to support the hockey program by donating their tickets back,” said FSU head coach Bob Daniels.  “Due to their efforts, we were able to give those tickets to some fans who were able to come to a game for the first time.”

For some of the youth who received donated tickets for the Michigan State contest, it may have been their first time inside the Ewigleben Ice Arena.

“These experiences and chances for these young adults are so important,” said Angels of Action founder Joni Thompson.  “They don’t always get to do fun things like this with friends and family.  Being able to connect with the community and being shown people care about them is very important.”

One of the groups who attended the Jan. 5 matchup came from Eagle Village, a 683-acre facility that serves thousands of children annually and offers programs and counseling for abused, neglected and troubled children.

“We thank Ferris State Hockey and the college students so much for the tickets to the game,” said Rosanne Raglin of Eagle Village.  “All the youth that attended had a great time.”

While many of the donated tickets went to youth, others were also distributed to volunteer-based organizations like the Salvation Army, which was able to provide local bell ringers and families with a night out.

“We were honored to have the opportunity to provide our bell ringers with a night out and they had a really great time,” said Chris Vallette of the Salvation Army. “One of our ringers had never attended a game before and was extremely grateful for the chance to be there.”

 

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