Monsters In the Community

Although the Monsters were most noticeable on Quicken Loans Arena ice this season, the team also made a number of charitable and community relations appearances in the Northeastern region of Ohio throughout the 2008-09 season. All told, the team made 29 community appearances, donated 4,500 tickets and raised and donated $13,600. Starting in early October through mid-March, the team spoke with students at elementary schools in the region, stayed on the ice after practices to skate with fans, coached youth teams in the area, made multiple hospital visits and traded in skates and gloves for aprons to wait tables and raise money for cancer patients and the Make-A-Wish Foundation at local restaurants.

Most frequently, players teamed up with broadcaster John Michael and mascot Sullivan C. Goal to make appearances on the Monsters Respect Tour, presented by the Ohio Lottery. Two players would accompany the broadcaster and mascot at each appearance, speaking to the youth at schools throughout Northeastern Ohio about the values of hard work and respect, and how those principles guided them in the their career paths to become professional hockey players. By season’s end, the team had made eight appearances at local schools throughout the area, reaching out to thousands of students, and donating hundreds of tickets at each Respect Tour.

The team also got on the ice with fans, holding the popular Tour With the Monsters event throughout the season, making appearances at local rinks and allowing the public access to the team’s practices. After the practice session concluded, the team would return to the ice to skate with their fans, sign autographs and pose for pictures. In total, the team held six Tour With the Monsters events throughout the Northeastern Ohio region. Outside of the Tour With the Monsters events, the team got on the ice with area youth for Mega Monsters, an event that would have two Monsters’ players deliver on-ice instruction to youth hockey teams at seven different venues throughout the region.

Perhaps the most successful couple of hours for the team from a community relations standpoint came in early January, when the Monsters partnered with Local Heroes Grill & Bar to raise money for The Littlest Heroes, a non-profit organization in Northeast Ohio that raises money for children with cancer and their families. By the end of the night, the Monsters, dropping the gloves in favor of aprons as waiters, raised $4,300 for the organization, as they served patrons, washed dishes and cleared tables for an evening. Three players – Jason Bacashihua, Phil Dupuis and Tyler Weiman – participated in Make-A-Wish Foundation’s Tip-A-Waiter dinner in early October to raise money for the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a non-profit organization that grants wishes to children with life-threatening medical conditions.

Perhaps the team’s most competitive event with the public was their mid-January game of noodle hockey at St. Mary of the Woods Assisted Living Community in Avon Lake, Ohio. Five players – T.J. Galiardi, Aaron MacKenzie, Chris Mueller, Derek Peliter and Andrew Sarauer – took on the St. Mary of the Woods Battling Beagles. In an intense competition, the not-so-fearsome five some dropped a 10-5 contest to the veteran-laden noodle hockey squad.

In an effort to cheer up those whose health conditions were below average, the team made multiple hospital visits during the season to St. John’s West Shore and the Cleveland Clinic Children’s Hospital throughout the fall and winter months of the 2008-09 season.

While the Monsters were more recognized for their on-ice play, the team’s efforts in the community did not go unnoticed; and it’s safe to say the greater Cleveland community is a better place with a few Monsters floating around Lake Erie during the winter months.

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