Renegades out in community
When Lisa and Joe D’Urso architected the West Coast Renegades earlier this year, they wanted the overall developmental experience to encompass much more than just practices and games, wins and losses.
The Renegades also placed a high priority on being valued members of the Salt Lake Valley community and, in short time, the program has done just that.
“One of our core values and beliefs it that it’s important to support your neighbors, support your town,” said Joe D’Urso, who serves as the club’s president. “Not only do we always want to do the right thing in every circumstance, but we also need to contribute back to our community in whatever small ways we can.”
D’Urso says giving back should be expected from those lucky enough to play the sport at high level.
“Our game is so intense and physically-demanding and also requires a significant time commitment from all of the players and their families,” explained D’Urso. “To cap it off, unfortunately, the game has also gotten very expensive to play.
“With that said, we believe that anyone who’s blessed and lucky enough to participate in our great game also has an obligation to give back to our community, as well as help others who may be less fortunate. This is why we’ve made civic and charitable work a core part of our program.”
Participating in charitable endeavors isn’t just limited to the players on the four Renegades teams; every member of the program gets involved, from the officers, coaches and, oftentimes, the players’ parents.
Every coach has a clause in their contract requiring them to participate, alongside their respective teams, in charitable or civic activities at least once a month. The players know they’re expected to participate as well.
“It’s a testament to the types of families we have in our program,” D’Urso said. “That the players have embraced these activities and the fact that some families have even begun to recommend charities we can support speaks volumes.
“We’ve yet to have one player complain about having to participate, and it’s been awesome to watch these young men give of their time and energy in serving others.”
The Renegades’ civic activities include supporting the local hockey community. The organization offers free hockey clinics around the state for young players and, specifically, non-travel players.
The club purchases ice time at local rinks and has their coaches teach different aspects of the game.
“They dedicate their time for free and our players participate by demonstrating drills and working with the kids,” said D’Urso. “We try to limit the numbers to the first 30 kids that sign up and, so far, (the clinics) have been a great success.”
A couple other charitable organizations the Renegades have associated themselves with include the Make-A-Wish Foundation and Ronald McDonald House.
Through Make-A-Wish, the players recently helped make a young, sick girl’s dream to travel to Disney World come true.
Working with the foundation, Renegades players showed up at the girl’s house to help present the wish. They formed two lines on both sides of the walkway to the entrance of the girl’s house and the girl, dressed in a princess gown, walked under an arch formed by the players holding their hockey sticks up over the walkway.
The Ronald McDonald House provides housing for families of children who come to town for surgeries or treatments for illnesses. Renegades players have gone to the facility and prepared, served and cleaned up after meals for the children and their families.
– Matt Mackinder