August 3, 2015
The Missouri State University Ice Bears, a Division 1 member of the
American Collegiate Hockey Association, announce today the team will be playing
charity hockey games September 4-5 at Mediacom Ice Park with the Springfield
Express, a Junior A hockey team in the Western States Hockey League.
Rosters of the Ice Bears and Express will be mixed together forming teams that will
play a pair of exhibition hockey games with proceeds to benefit both organizations
and the Assistive Technology Outdoors Professionals (ATOP) Sled Dogs hockey team
in Springfield. The games start at 7 p.m. each night.
The weekend events mark the first time both clubs have united efforts. Ice Bears
head coach Bob Bucher said working together will help foster a good alliance
between both organizations while drawing fans to the sport of hockey.
“We want to let everybody in Springfield know that there is a relationship between us
and the Express, and we are there to promote and enrich other hockey programs in
Springfield,” Bucher said. “It’s a win-win for both.”
After a successful inaugural 2014-15 season in Springfield, Express co-owner Joe
MacConnell said the weekend charity event helps bring hockey to the forefront in the
“The Express are excited with the opportunity of partnering with Missouri State and
bring awareness of the sled hockey program in Springfield. The relationship with the
Express and Ice Bears has grown and continues to become stronger each day,”
Fifty percent of event proceeds will be donated to ATOP and the remainder will be
divided between the hockey clubs to support operating costs.
Ken White, co-founder of ATOP said the Springfield organization was formed to
provide adaptive equipment for individuals with disabilities to get back into the
game. The group also features adaptive water skiing, hunting, recreational sports,
and programs for Wounded Warriors. The Sled Dogs are a member of USA Hockey.
“I can’t begin to tell you how much we appreciate this. We are focusing on sled
hockey right now but there is so many other things we do. This will also help us fund
other equipment,” White said.
Missouri State appeared in consecutive ACHA Division 2 National Tournaments in
2014 and 2015 and starts the 2015-16 season in ACHA Division 1, while Springfield
moves into Tier 2 of the WSHL.
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