Proceeds from hockey night to benefit Angels of Hope

By: Alex Szwarc | C&G Newspapers | Published December 11, 2018

 Dakota High School hockey players celebrate a goal at last year’s Angels of Hope hockey night. All proceeds from this year’s Dec. 21 event at the Mount Clemens Ice Arena will go toward Angels of Hope, an organization that helps children with cancer.

Dakota High School hockey players celebrate a goal at last year’s Angels of Hope hockey night. All proceeds from this year’s Dec. 21 event at the Mount Clemens Ice Arena will go toward Angels of Hope, an organization that helps children with cancer.

Photo provided by Kristin Zielinski

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MOUNT CLEMENS/MACOMB TOWNSHIP — On Dec. 21, the puck will drop and money will be raised when two schools come together for not only a pair of hockey games, but also a charity event to benefit Angels of Hope.

The Angels of Hope hockey night at the Mount Clemens Ice Arena, 200 N. Groesbeck Highway, features two hockey games.

A Dakota alumni game is scheduled for 5 p.m., followed by a Macomb Area Conference league game between the Dakota Cougars and the Anchor Bay Tars at 7 p.m.

Since its founding in 2004, Angels of Hope has been fueled by volunteers. Its board is comprised of business executives and business owners with a single mission – to provide financial assistance and other programs to children and parents with minor children battling any type of cancer, anywhere in Michigan.

“It’s very important for the coaches to instill good value with the players to show them there is more to life than just being on the ice,” Kristin Zielinski, event chairwoman said. “There’s more than just playing hockey all the time, and the coaches wanted them to be involved to something that is meaningful to them.”

Zielinski’s son, Trevor Zielinski, is a freshman goalie on the Dakota hockey team.

She said that Angels of Hope is a charity that means a lot to Dakota Assistant Hockey Coach Brian Salliote.

“They’re a great group of people and they help families with kids that have cancer and that is a cause that’s near and dear to my heart,” Salliote said. “Over the years, I’ve gotten to know members of the board of directors and they’re truly special people.”

In addition to the games, the hockey night features multiple 50/50 raffles and contests with cash prizes and donated items.

Three grand prizes will be raffled off – four tickets to a Detroit Red Wings game at Little Caesars Arena with seating in the Legends Club with food, drinks and parking; two tickets to a Red Wings game on Valentine’s Day with memorabilia; and four tickets to a baseball game at Jimmy John’s Field.

“We also do ‘Chuck a Puck’ where, for $2, we sell hockey pucks and all the pucks get thrown on the ice and a service dog will go out and pick a puck,” Zielinski said.

This year marks the third time that Dakota has partnered up with Angels of Hope. Last year, over $5,000 was raised, and Zielinski is hoping for more this time.

Each hockey player is given an opportunity to play for one or more people who are special to them.

“The team also wears a special black and gold jersey for these games which are the colors of Angels of Hope,” Zielinski said.

One hundred percent of donations and proceeds from events directly support Angels of Hope families.

“Hockey is just a rehearsal for life,” Salliote said. “All sports are full of life lessons and it’s really important that as you grow up that you learn that the world is a big place and everybody needs help at some point and giving back is more important than getting sometimes.”

According to its website, in 2016, 201 families were helped by the organization thanks to the help of 304 volunteers, and $809,362 of funds were awarded.

“It’s a very worthwhile cause and everybody I know has been impacted by cancer in some way,” Salliote said. “It’s a fun event and a good chance to be a part of something that’s bigger than yourself.”

Angels of Hope provides assistance with rent/mortgage, utilities, home repair, car repair, medical bills, funeral assistance and more.

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