Update from Nick:
I am so proud of the hockey players …. my friends in Oklahoma City. A couple days after the disaster hit Moore, Oklahoma the Gladiators learned that a couple teammates had been affected by it. They Gladiators decided to try to do help our teammates by having a small charity fundraiser. We had 3 days to plan it , get players, get food , and to top it off it was the first long holiday weekend of the summer. With the time frame and the holiday we figured we would maybe get 30-40 guys out and we would have a good time, play some hockey, eat some burgers, drink some beer and raise a lil bit of money to help our teammates and friends. Little did we know how big of a turnout and how much money we would raise for them. I just finished counting the money and I want to say that this passed anything we thought we would raise. I had to count it twice just to confirm this. Today the Gladiators, The OKC hockey community, their friends, families, and even some random strangers came together to raise 3,597.00 for our friends. I am so proud to be part of this small hockey community. Thank you guys for your support and help.
I love my community. Something that few folks can actually say, and quite frankly, believe with their whole heart. The resilient spirit of Oklahomans has been on grand display this week, and it reveals what we all know is there regardless of tragedy or not. A great example of this in action is the Gladiator Hockey Tournament that will be played Monday to benefit two individuals who lost so much in the tornadoes earlier this week.
“The sole purpose of this event is to give monetary support to help these players and their families be able to cope with having to replace all they have lost,” says Nick Fleehart, the event coordinator.
And by families he means two that Nick himself knows very well.
“Travis has a wife named Mandi, a beautiful 7 year old daughter named Harlie, and an 8 week old son name Hudson,” explains Fleehart. “They also have a small puppy. They lived over in the neighborhood by Plaza Towers Elementary. Their daughter Harlie was actually in Plaza Towers Elementary School when the tornado hit. Luckily Harlie made it out safe and everyone is ok. Their house was all but completely gone. There might be a few walls standing but not much was recoverable.”
But there was another family with a similar story.
“Kyle lived in the edition south of 4th street and Santa Fe. He has a wife named Sue, whom is due with their first baby boy on Monday. They also have 2 dogs. One dog is aptly named Gretzky and the other’s name is Jumper. Kyle and Sue were not at home when the Tornado hit but their 2 dogs were. Their dogs were lost after the storm but luckily a day later the Humane Society called and told them both of their dogs were safe and they could be picked up whenever they could make it to them. Kyle’s house was completely destroyed with nothing able to be recovered.”
The stories of Kyle and Travis are like so many others who endured the events earlier this week, but their similarities don’t devalue the impact in any way. These are people who awoke one day with a home, and the next they didn’t. That’s where the Gladiators stepped in.
“Both of these guys have been Gladiators since the idea of the team was born in 2011,” mentions Nick. “We love both of these guys like brothers and we just hope that this event will help them get on their feet a bit. The Gladiators just wanted to help. There are currently a lot of organizations in Moore that are out helping and we just wanted to find a way to help in our own way. We organized the event to help our friends. Our hockey brothers were both affected dramatically by the tornado and we felt like we had to find a way to help them.”
That brings us to the tournament to benefit one (actually two) of their own.
This coming Monday morning, teams will be formed for a very special cause – helping those immediately effected by the most recent tornado outbreak in Oklahoma. Fleehart has worked hard to create, promote, and execute the event, and it continues to be more than just a hockey thing.
“We have had a lot of people donate clothes, baby items, and food,” explains Fleehart. “Also the Gladiators have already joined together to replace the gear (minus skates) of these players so they can get back on the ice with us when they want to. In addition to helping the players affected we want to invite out anyone who has been affected by this disaster. We will have burgers, hotdogs, and drinks. If anyone affected wants to come to Blazers Ice Centre on Monday just to take an hour or so away from everything to eat, watch hockey, or just be sociable, we welcome them.”
Imagine if we lived in a world where neighbor took care of neighbor, and stranger took care of stranger. You could imagine this to be an ideal community, and in reality it would indeed be ideal. Such is the reality of Oklahomans who will always help Oklahomans. There’s a sense of pride in doing so that is unlike any place in the world. To live here is to understand that. This tournament is a great example of Oklahoma doing what it does best – caring for one of their own. As captain of the Gladiators hockey team, Nick understands the tight feeling among his friends and fellow players.
“To be honest, the hockey community here in Oklahoma and everywhere really is a special group. If you play hockey you are kind of in a small club. You consider every player a brother and you will step up to help even if you don’t know the player personally. This is evidenced by the amount of support and help we have received in a short time since we decided to put together this benefit,” says Fleehart. “Players from all over America and Canada have sent their well wishes and some have even sent money. Pro players (including Edmonton Oiler’s forward Ryan Nugent-Hopkins) have tweeted about the event to show their support. Hockey companies like Gongshow Hockey Gear have contacted us to ask about what they can do to help and have even committed to sending some of their clothes to help out the players. The hockey community is really special and unique when it comes to helping one of their own.”
You’re doing fine Oklahoma.
Full details of the event:
Monday, May 27th
10:00 a.m. Start Time
Blazers Ice Center
$35.00 per player
(Draft Format/7 – 8 Players on Each Team/40 Minute Games)
All proceeds will be donated to two of our own hockey players, Travis Robins & Kyle Young who lost everything in the May 20th tornado. We will also be accepting donations of clothing & household items for both families.
Ø Travis has a wife, daughter who is 7, son who is 2 months and a small dog.
Ø Kyle has a wife who is pregnant & due any day with their first son and two large dogs.
Some hamburgers, hot dogs & chips will be provided throughout the day, but food donations for the players would be greatly accepted.
Please contact Nick Fleehart with any further questions at 405-974-0105 or OklahomaGladiators@yahoo.com
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