Pilots Throw it Back

On Jan. 18, the Topeka Pilots played host to the Odessa Jackalopes and delighted fans with a 6-1 victory at Landon Arena.

But off the ice that night, some of the 1,128 fans in attendance also helped make a couple of big contributions happen.

After the final horn sounded, the evening’s festivities continued with a post-game jersey auction raising funds for the Topeka Youth Hockey Association as well as the Topeka Pilots Booster Club.

The specialty jerseys from that weekend were put up for live auction and included bids for current Pilots players jerseys, as well as several Topeka hockey alumni’s jerseys. Some of the alumni even made the trek back to Topeka for the exciting evening.

After all costs were taken out of the funds raised by the jerseys, the remaining amount was then totaled and divided for the two organizations, with a total amount of $2,466 going to each organization because of jersey purchases.

With all of the evening’s festivities and success of the event, Pilots head coach Simon Watson said it made for a special evening for all involved.

“Throwback Night was a great theme that allowed the Booster Club and Topeka Youth Hockey Association the opportunity to raise funds for each of their programs,” Watson said. “The Pilots are extremely fortunate to be associated with both groups and are proud to see how successful the event was.”

Mike Cline, president of the Topeka Pilots Booster Club, stated that contributions like those made by the Pilots are what allows their organization to make a difference.

“One of our main goals as a Booster Club is furthering the education of anyone wanting to go to college after they age out of the Pilots,” Cline said. “Whether they play college hockey at school or not, we write a check to their school and they can use that money for food, rooms or supplies.”

“We are the only Booster Club doing this and we take great pride in doing it for our players. They gave up their friends and family to play here so we feel they deserve help with their schooling. It is an honor to be able to help.”

Cline went on to say that in addition to the support of the fans, the Pilots Booster Club also wanted to thank Pilots owner Lamar Hunt Jr., as well as the rest of the Pilots organization.

The Topeka Youth Hockey Association is also continuing to grow and will use the funds for those expenses and for educational programs. They recently hosted several “Learn to Play Hockey” programs, with 27 kids attending the Jan. 18th event. President Kevin Grauberger has been continuing to work to increase the program’s visibility.

For more information on the Topeka Youth Hockey Association, visit www.topekayouthhockey.com. Find out more about the Topeka Pilots Booster Club by visiting their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/tphbc.