ORONO, Maine — Tobin Trautz, coach of the Maine Freeze Midget Minor (Under-16) team, is trying to help his players understand that there is more to life than hockey.
To bring that point home, he has the team participate in charitable activities. This year, they are raising money as part of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The Maine Freeze draws its players and board members from Bangor Youth Hockey, Brewer Youth Hockey and the Penobscot Valley Hockey Conference.
The U-16 Midgets have four home games remaining, two Sunday and two Oct. 28, and for each of those games the players will wear pink jerseys, wear pink laces in their skates and use pink tape on their sticks in addition to asking for pledges.
All four games will be played at the University of Maine’s Alfond Arena.
Sunday’s games are at 11:30 a.m. against Biddeford and 4:15 p.m. against Casco Bay, which is battling for first place with the Freeze.
The Oct. 28 games are at 11:30 a.m. against the Maine Moose and 4:15 p.m. versus the Southern Maine Huskies.
“Whether it’s Breast Cancer Awareness, a food drive or something else, doing anything with these kids helps make them better people,” said Trautz.
“As coaches, we’re role models for these kids, they look up to us,” he added. “We’ve got to help them be a better person.”
The 17 players are tasked with seeking pledges totaling at least $25 each. Parents can buy their child’s pink jersey for $35 and there will be tables at the games manned by parents who will be accepting donations.
Trautz said he has been involved with raising money to fight breast cancer “since I was at [the University of New England in Biddeford] five or six years ago.”
This is not the first time the team has been involved in a fundraiser, according to Trautz.
“Last year they ran a 5K road race to raise money for the PVHC scholarship program,” he said. That program covers some of the financial cost for families that couldn’t normally afford to have their children participate in youth hockey.
“This helps show them that there is a bigger part of life than hockey,” said Trautz of his players.
Todd Cray, president of the Maine Freeze, praised Trautz for his efforts.
“He does well to get kids involved in the community,” said Cray.
The Midget teams are best suited for this activity because they are older and their season starts earlier than the others so it doesn’t conflict with the high school hockey season, but Cray said other Freeze teams will show their support when they start at the end of October.
“Most will be using pink tape to show their support,” said Cray.
He said the response from the parents has been positive.
“They’re happy to have a cause with it. It’s been very well received,” Cray said.