Local Sports Journal

MUSKEGON – In support of its largest fundraiser of the year, the Muskegon Lumberjacks Charitable Foundation is once again hosting its annual Red Wings alumni game Jan. 11 at the L.C. Walker Arena in downtown Muskegon.

Lumberjacks sawblade goalThe puck is set to drop at 7:15 p.m.

The Red Wings alumni will feature former hockey greats Mickey Redmond, Joe Kocur, Kris Draper, and John Ogrodnick, and are set to matchup against the Muskegon Lumberjacks alumni, featuring former Port City greats Robin Bouchard, Sylvain Daigle, Rob Melanson, and current Lumberjacks General Manager John Vanbiesbrouck.

Individual tickets for the event are on sale at $10 for adults and $6 for kids ages 3-12, available at the L.C. Walker Box Office.

Fans may also purchase tickets at www.startickets.com.

Also, there are a limited number of V.I.P. tickets available for $25 that will include entry into a postgame event at The Lake House Water Front Grille. The V.I.P. event will feature a live jersey auction that will include NHL memorabilia, a meet-and-greet with the players, live music, a cash bar, and hearty hors d’oeuvres.

During the game, there will be a silent auction in the Party Deck that will include donated items from Muskegon’s local businesses, professional sports teams, NCAA institutes, and much more.  The silent auction will begin right when the doors open at 6:15 p.m. and conclude at 8 p.m.

The semi-annual event is also being supported by Radiology Muskegon, PLC.  All proceeds go toward the Lumberjacks’ foundation,  a 501(c)3 charity that was established in September 2011 with the goal of enriching the West Michigan community by actively creating and supporting education, recreational, and social programs that encourage the healthy development of youth and families through an association with hockey.

In addition to conducting a reading program that reaches students throughout Muskegon County, the MLCF supports local youth hockey initiatives, downtown Muskegon revitalization projects, and provides tickets to kids who otherwise wouldn’t have the opportunity to attend a hockey game.

The two programs that are associated with the charitable foundation include the Reading Caravan and Junior Jacks Youth Hockey Organization.  The MLCF’s Reading Caravan is a free and unique literacy program focused on 1-6 grade classrooms in Muskegon County, although schools outside of our geographic area are eligible for some elements.  The Reading Caravan is an incentive-based program designed to promote and motivate young readers with prizes, player visits, and L.C. Walker Arena events.  Through a multifaceted approach that includes exclusive experiences and incentives, students are encouraged to succeed as individual readers and as a classroom team.  For the 2013-14 hockey season and school year, the MLCF is able to serve 12 different elementary schools totaling in 3,830 students.

Additionally, the Muskegon Lumberjacks Charitable Foundation has been instrumental in providing members of the Junior Jacks Youth Hockey Organization with a low-cost option for organized hockey.  In the last year, the MLCF has helped grow the Youth Hockey Organization from one Squirt House team to two Squirt House teams and a Pee Wee team.  Altogether, 60 kids participate in the Junior Jacks Youth Hockey Organization.  The MLCF helps off-set the cost of ice, as well as provides each player with two sets of jerseys, socks, and warm-up suits.  The goal is to teach leadership and citizenship skills while also instilling positive values like teamwork, sportsmanship, and integrity.  The Junior Jacks Youth Hockey Organization plans to grow their organization in the next year to over 100 kids and, without the support of the MLCF, the program would cease to exist.

Full rosters for both alumni teams can be found at www.muskegonlumberjacks.com.