Dawg Nation helping Colorado hockey community recover from Marshall Fire
Back on December 30, a small grass fire broke out in Boulder County and quickly engulfed much of the surrounding area.
Named the Marshall Fire by local officials, the fire was first reported to 911 at the intersection of Colorado 93 and Marshall Road. Even after fire crews arrived on the scene, gusty winds spread the fire to Superior, Louisville and Broomfield.
More than 6,000 acres were destroyed and in terms of structures lost, the fire was the worst in Colorado state history.
On the night of New Year’s Eve, heavy snowfall put an end to the fire.
Spared from the fire was the Sport Stable facility in Superior, but many Colorado hockey families were not as lucky and suffered losses due to the fire.
That’s where the Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation stepped up to help those families.
“Dawg Nation immediately heard about the fire through many organizations and individuals who were asking how they could help and wondering what we were doing,” said Mike Freeman, executive director of Dawg Nation. “By the next morning, we were actively setting up our donation site and coordinating with the Boulder Hockey Club and the Long Hockey Community to provide a coordinated effort to identify and help hockey families in need.
“Dawg Nation has seen and been a part of many tragedies that have a profound impact on the community. We have found that having an organization that stands ready to help mobilize donations and goodwill towards the victims of tragedies is paramount. Most people are so good hearted and generous, especially when they see a need. They need a vehicle to help them give back, and that’s our motto, “Play hard, play fair, give back.”
Dawg Nation, Boulder Hockey Club, and Long Hockey Community raised over $110,000 for the hockey families that were victims of the Marshall Fire, identifying these family’s needs through phone calls and through the local leaders of the hockey community that know these families the best.
“We know that the average homeowner’s deductible is $1,000 to $1,500, so with the goal of helping every family identified, we set the minimum at $1,000 and then looked for further needs, like families that had a total loss versus being displaced,” said Freeman. “While we have dispersed around 80 percent of the funds, we have reserved the rest for further needs or families that hadn’t been identified in the first round. We know these families will have short-term needs that far exceed our ability but helping as we can sends the message that they are loved and supported.”
Stacey Zis, a board member with the Boulder Hockey Club, whose home rink is the Sport Stable, said that so many people came together in a short amount of time to find the silver lining in the face of adversity.
“The Sport Stable was right in the middle of the impacted area,” Zis said. “On December 30, everyone was checking on their friends and family members. After they knew that their loved ones were safe, the next question I got from almost everyone was, ‘Is the rink still there?’ It’s more than just an ice rink; it is a focal point for our community. This fire was random in some ways as to what was destroyed, what was damaged, and what was spared. The site of Boulder Hockey Club’s previous home, Boulder Valley Ice, was completely destroyed. That is where the Element Hotel was on McCasslin, which is now a total loss.
“The hockey community is strong. Over the course of the past few months, hockey clubs from across the state have donated over $10,000 worth of gift cards for our impacted hockey families. This, in addition to the overwhelming success of the Dawg Nation efforts, shows us why hockey is a special sport with many long-standing and strong connections and relationships. The collaboration between Boulder Hockey Club, Dawg Nation and Long Hockey has been a highlight of my board service. Working together for this important reason has been inspiring.”
Long Hockey is a group of approximately 120 individuals that skate at the Sport Stable three mornings a week.
“When the fires happened, folks started coming together to ask the question what we could do to help and we decided to pool our collective resources and partner with Dawg Nation to raise funds from our group, confident that we’d be able to find the right recipients,” said Long Hockey group member Kevin Kelly. “A couple of folks that we skate with in the morning suffered some minor damage and were displaced. When we looked one circle out, several of us learned of people that we skate with a lunch league or men’s (evening) leagues that lost their homes. Several people that skate in the morning also have kids that had played or currently play at BHC, so we also became aware of the BHC families that were impacted.
“Our Long Hockey group grew out of another Long Hockey group with about 50 individuals that skates on Sundays. There was one person that skates on Sundays that lost his house and so it was great to be able to provide for this person.”
With many of the donations now dispersed, the Colorado hockey community in Boulder is starting to get back on the right track and back to a normal way of life.
“We couldn’t be more impressed with the collaboration and teamwork of our partnership with the Boulder Hockey Club and the Long Hockey community,” Freeman said. “They represent the best of the hockey community, staying focused on what we as a team need to do to help families in need.”
— Matt Mackinder
(April 21, 2022)