Two groups of Cape Ann athletes, one helping other, celebrated together Sunday with a bowling party.
The Cape Ann U10/U12 Girls Ice Hockey team presented a $524 check to the Cape Ann Special Olympics program during the party at Cape Ann Lanes in Gloucester after a successful fund-raising season.
The Cape Ann U14 girls team ran a similar program on behalf of the Cape Ann Special Needs Assistance Program and raised over $275.
The players raised money through a series of small donations made by family, friends and fans of the players. The donations went into a pool and the girls then “earned” the money throughout the season by volunteering in the community or performing above and beyond on the ice.
“The girls loved seeing the donations come in, and really loved doing their part by giving back to the community, and working hard on the ice,” said Coach Anthony Cusumano. “When you can tie a good deed and a good effort on the ice to funds being earmarked to a good cause, you’ve got a perfect combination for kids this age.”
Community service included singing holiday carols to community members, selling fundraising calendars alongside Special Olympians and volunteering with Cape Ann Challenger Hockey, a program that helps players with disabilities or special needs learn to play. To earn money on the ice, players could complete tasks such as skating faster during practice drills, making more passes in games, or achieving a hat trick.
“It is such a privilege to coach these kids,’ said Cape Ann Youth Hockey Girls Program Director Tod Johnson. “But, when you see these girls off the ice giving back to the community, your pride in the girls shoots through the roof. I can’t say enough about what these girls accomplished this season both on and off the ice.”
Now, the Cape Ann U14 girls are making their way to playoffs with a first-round bye.