Pilots host online benefit auction

The Topeka Pilots are presenting fans with an opportunity to bid on inaugural season memorabilia through an online auction. These items will make great holiday gifts for any Pilots fan and benefit two North American Hockey League players who have suffered major spinal injuries this season.
The Pilots holiday auction, which is currently live on the DASH Auction app through Dec. 14, will allow fans to bid on Pilots inaugural season memorabilia, such as game worn player jerseys, signed sticks and pucks, and team signed replica jerseys. Thirty percent of proceeds will be evenly split between the two players to help with ongoing medical costs.
St. Cloud Blizzard forward Alex Kupka and Johnstown Tomahawks forward and captain Chris Trouba are both recovering from on-ice collisions that resulted in broken vertebra.
“When we looked at what’s happened from our organization’s perspective, it [the auction proceeds] was something we thought we could do to show our support to these players and their families,” Pilots head coach Simon Watson said.
With players often hours away from their families during the NAHL season, it can sometimes be the acts of kindness from complete strangers that makes the most impact in their times of tribulation.
“The hockey world is a small tight-knit community,” Watson said. “When there’s a need in the hockey community, it’s proven that people will step up and do what they can to help. We [the Pilots organization] are just one small piece of this puzzle, but we want to show these two players that we’re there for them.”
Pilots captain Austin McCarthy played with Trouba this past summer in Sochi, Russia during the IIHF 2019 Junior World Cup and spoke highly of his character.
“I really got along with Chris when we went over to Russia,” McCarthy said. “He’s not only a great player on the ice, but he’s a great guy off of it. It’s tough to see anyone go through what Alex and Chris are going through, but it’s awesome to see people rallying to help them.”
For more on Kupka and Trouba’s stories or information on how you can bid on auction items, please visit www.topekapilots.com/onehockeyfamily.