Two-thirds of the way through a grueling 60 game schedule, the Minnesota Magicians (24-16-4) boast one of the North American Hockey League’s (NAHL) best records and are looking ahead to continued success in the playoffs come April. While their on-ice impact is obvious to anyone who has set foot in the Richfield Ice Arena concourse during one of their home games, the Magicians have also been making their presence felt off the ice through their community outreach and volunteer efforts.
Magicians players are frequent guests at local elementary schools throughout the season, which runs from September through as late as May each year. Whether its teaching kindergartners the basics of the game, playing floor hockey in P.E., or giving a presentation on respect and healthy habits, the organization makes it a point to have a positive presence in the local school system. Each visit from the players comes with a free ticket to an upcoming home game for the students, and it’s not uncommon for an impromptu autograph session to erupt as well. For their part the players embrace their status as role models for the students, and typically end up having as much, if not more fun at their visits than their young fans.
The Magicians have also forged a strong relationship with Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota throughout the past several years. The team hosts an annual Teddy Toss event each season, in which fans donate hundreds of stuffed animals to benefit the hospitals and patients. Last month, several Magicians players paid a visit to the Minneapolis campus of Children’s to deliver the stuffed animals and make an appearance on the hospital’s internal cable network show “Kid’s Clubhouse,” a goofy hour-long program that provides a light-hearted escape from the rigors of a stay at the hospital. As with the school visits, it is often the players who benefit most from their time at the hospital as they gain inspiration and perspective from children who are fighting for something far more important that wins and losses on a sheet of ice.
This weekend, the Magicians will be giving back to another local community organization as they host their “Pucks for Paws” event benefiting Secondhand Hounds Animal Rescue. The organization is a no-kill shelter for dogs, cats, and other pets whose owners are unable to care for them. Fans at the game will get a chance to meet several dogs currently available for adoption, and Secondhand Hounds representatives will be available to provide more information on the mission of the organization. The event is on Saturday February 18th at 7:00 PM, as the Magicians take on the Fairbanks Ice Dogs at Richfield Ice Arena. Tickets and information can be found at www.wisconsinjuniorhockey.com.