By Emily Klingman
This year’s season of giving is starting strong, with the Rider club ice hockey team’s annual Pink in the Rink event last Saturday, Nov. 5. In their fifth year running this event, the team raised over $1,500 in the name of breast cancer research.
During the yearly event, the rink is decorated by the student managers with pink banners, ribbons and streamers. The players wear specially-made jerseys and everyone in attendance is encouraged to wear plenty of pink. A raffle is also held, and this year, the giveaways included a pink Kate Spade bag and wallet, and two NFL autographed pictures.
Last year, the team donated the Pink in the Rink funds to the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer. The funds raised last weekend will be donated to a charity yet to be named by the players.
Senior accounting major and team president Brett Ansbacher believes the team continues to host Pink in the Rink every year because it is the idea of their “brotherhood” supporting “a cause close to all our hearts.”
“When we began with the Pink in the Rink idea, it was a huge success,” said Ansbacher. “Back then, we actually auctioned off our jerseys at the game to raise even more donations for the horrible illness. Over time, we found new ways to raise even more money without auctioning off the jerseys, including the sale of Rider ice hockey T-shirts in honor of the Pink in the Rink event.”
Stefanie Roche, head manager for the hockey team, said what keeps the team encouraged to put on the event every year is how connected the players and coaches are to the culture of giving back.
“At the end of the day, it’s important for us to remember that ice hockey is a game, and we love being able to share what we love and raise money for a cause,” she said. “Unfortunately, the majority of people know someone who was affected by breast cancer in one way or another, and this is just something small we can do to support a larger cause.”
The buzz that comes with the event every year creates such a boost in team morale, too.
“The energy of the Pink in the Rink weekend is contagious,” said Roche. “The players, the staff and the team’s family and friends look forward to it every year, and the players are committed and passionate about putting on a successful event each year.”
Ansbacher agreed that the event is a huge boost to team morale, and credits part of that to the excitement of wearing the special jerseys.
“It is such an honor and such a special event to be a part of, especially knowing how much of an impact it has on people,” he said.
While he feels it’s unfortunate that so many people are connected to breast cancer, Ansbacher believes the event has such an impact on Rider’s community because it’s a way to fight back against it.
“I feel that the overall event has such an impact on so many people that regardless of if you like the sport of hockey or not, people want to contribute in any way that they can,” said Ansbacher.
The preparation for the special event starts about six months ahead of the weekend, right when the season’s games are being finalized. According to Roche, once the season starts, the staff works alongside the team’s executive board to plan the year’s activities, raffles and promotions.
As the team manager, Roche’s Pink in the Rink duty is to oversee planning and coordinating the resources needed. She is essentially the facilitator between the coaches, who finalize the game dates; the players, who work on event publicity and transportation for fans from campus, in addition to arranging donations and sponsors; and the managers, who coordinate the donations, run the raffles and create decorations for the rink.
While Ansbacher leads the ordering of the event’s jerseys and coordinating the charity, he credits most of the work to the team’s student managers.
“They do a superb job of getting the rink set up on the day of the event, and managing all raffles and T-shirt and ticket sales,” he said. “The event would be nowhere near as successful as it is without them.”
Printed in the 11/16/16 edition.