When Hockey Has a Heart

There are a few phrases with which we non-profit types are familiar but which are sometimes something of a different language to anyone else. One of those is “third-party event.” The “event” part is pretty self-explanatory but it’s the “third-party” part that throws folks for a loop. Basically and in the simplest terms, a third-party event is any fundraising activity planned and executed by a non-affiliated group or individual where the benefiting organization has no financial responsibility and little or no staff involvement. In other words, someone else comes up with an idea how to raise funds on hockey2your behalf and all that is required of you is to help promote it and, perhaps, be there during the event to help where needed. Of course, these include the traditional events such as bake sales, car washes and carnivals. Gaining more popularity are dining out nights, where a restaurant will agree to donate 20% of proceeds from that evening to an organization. Sporting events make for lucrative TPEs because the attendance is usually larger and they tend to bring in more charitable revenue, but they also help brand and market an organization to a larger audience that may not be familiar with them.  Sporting social events, such as bowling nights, are also among the favorites by bringing people together in a fun social setting while allowing them to take part in the sport itself and feel good about advancing a cause.

That model can apply to virtually any sport, but we especially love when it applies to hockey. Yes, that’s right. Hockey, the sport that continues to gain favor, and even more of a fan base in large part because of the Avalanche, of course, but also because of the continued success and national prominence of the University of Denver Pioneers hockey program. The Pioneers have repeatedly made it to the top of the heap in the NCAA and this year is no exception.  Colorado Cancer Research Program (CCRP) is honored to once again be a beneficiary of the Quest 9 Charity Adult Hockey Tournament, courtesy of our good friends at Foothills Event Management (FEM).  The event, now in its 9th consecutive year, was created, in part, by FEM’s director Lance Jaeger.  Not surprisingly, Lance is a hockey nut as well as a dedicated philanthropist, so this event is the perfect way for him to combine his love for pucks and Zambonis with his commitment to charitable causes. We sat down with Lance to chat about the tournament, how it all started and why he is so passionate about it all.

CCRP: Lance, this will be the ninth year for this charitable tournament. Take us back to the beginning so we get an idea of how things all began.

lance1a1LJ: Nine years already. It’s crazy. How did we get here?  If you can believe it, it all started just prior to the 2007 Holiday season in the back of a semi-trailer during the106.7 KBPI Hand that Feeds Food Drive. That event was held in the Parking Lot of the Ice Centre at the Promenade in Westminster where people in need could donate food benefiting the Denver Rescue Mission.  I was there helping out and it turns out that the guy accepting and loading food next to me was Justin Goldman. He had been doing some unique things in the Colorado Adult Hockey Community with the Colorado Avalanche and I had just sold one of the events I had been managing, the Panicking Poultry 5K Run/Walk, which was a pre-Thanksgiving event, benefiting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society – Colorado Chapter.  I was pretty busy at that time and since hockey was my passion, I decided to sell it to my long-time partner because running was his passion.

CCRP:  Well, we’ve never known you NOT to be busy, Lance, especially since you‘ve been doing hockey stuff and charity fundraising events for a long time.

LJ:  Ever since 2002, I have been running a successful hockey business called Competitive Edge Hockey, LLC, which focuses on coaching and instruction for all ages.  At the same time, I’ve also been running a successful event business, Foothills Event Management, LLC, which focuses on consulting, planning and management for events of all types and sizes.  So, yeah…I guess keeping busy and doing things to help out charitable organizations is in my blood—almost literally, since it’s something I did as a kid with my parents. So after working for several hours at that KBPI food drive event and talking to Justin a bit more, he and I became friends and forged a partnership that allowed us to finally figure out a way to  combine our two passions—hockey and charity—and that’s when we decided to start the  Charity Adult Hockey Tournament.

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So, did that eventually become the Quest Tournament we know today?

LJ: Sort of, but not quite.  It was originally called the Quest for the Crown and we were able to parlay the Rink Manager’s membership in the NHL Players Association and Justin’s relationship with the Colorado Avalanche so that we could partner with the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer Initiative as our beneficiary.  The event was held for two years at the Big Bear Ice Arena in Denver until that arena changed owners, causing us to find a new home. And that’s how we came to be where we are today, at the Edge Ice Arena in Littleton.

CCRP: And how did that all go for you and Justin?

LJ:  It started really well and we were able to raise a nice amount of money for cancer. But as it evolved and grew, the NHL kept insisting that we try to keep the money locally, or at least as much as we possibly could.  And as luck would have it, in 2015 a hockey client of mine introduced me to a good friend, Patricia Peterson, who is the President & CEO of Colorado Cancer Research Program (CCRP).  It didn’t take long for everyone to see that the hockey tournament was an ideal fit for CCRP and that Pat, and her staff would work well with the Foothills Event Management staff.

davewtf2aCCRP: Well, we’re just as happy it was such a good fit for everyone.  I was going to ask about the name, but it’s obvious that the original tournament, Quest for the Crown, has become the Quest Charity Hockey Tournament that we know today, which makes perfect sense since the name is already fairly well-known in the hockey community. I know you like to help as many charities as you can. In fact, let’s make sure to give a shout out to the other charities benefiting from this yea’rs tournament, including Third Way Center and NHL Hockey Fights Cancer. What are some of the others that you supported in the early years prior to CCRP?

LJ: There are quite a few.  There’s the Jessica Redfield Ghawi Foundation, honoring a vibrant young journalist and hockey enthusiast who was killed in the 2012 Aurora theatre shooting. Also, the Win the Battle Foundation, a local organization similar to “Make a Wish” based in Arvada. And we’ve worked to fund scholarships for the Colorado Adaptive Sports Foundation, specifically the Colorado Sled Hockey Association. We’ve also helped individuals who needed support, such as Ian Tuthill, a hockey client of mine who lost his battle with osteosarcoma in 2013 just prior to the event. And Dominic Scrivner, another hockey client of mine who is a testicular cancer survivor as well as the GM for our title sponsor, Mike Shaw Subaru. I really need to point out that without the commitment of Dominic and Mike Shaw Suburu, this event would not be possible.  We’ve also helped Dan silentauction2aHohenstein, a long-time high-level referee in Colorado and a postal worker who survived a horrific accident, nearly losing both of his legs, while sorting mail at the back of his truck. And this past week another high level referee had a pretty horrific accident and we want to try to help him out.  Butch Mousseaux suffered a devastating fall prior to a collegiate playoff game in Grand Rapids, MI that left him with a severe head injury. He’s in an induced coma and has yet to regain consciousness. FEM is coordinating with other organizations in efforts to support him and his family.  By the way, if you’d like to help Butch, you can go click here to either the Facebook page they’ve created for him, to their Go Fund Me page, or to the DAWG Nation Hockey Foundation website. This is yet another example of the ways in which we try to help individuals directly.

CCRP:  Careful, buddy. Keep this up and we’re going to need a box of tissues. I actually have a tear in my eye.  Wow, didn’t see that one coming. I appreciate you sharing what happened to Butch—I  remember hearing about Dan’s tragedy on the news when it happened and I recall thinking, “He’s a postal worker who was just doing his job.” And then his life was changed forever because of one stupid, tragic moment.  Lance, what you have done and continue to do is nothing short of amazing.

LJ:  I’ll tell ya, Dave, as we’re talking about all this, it’s certainly bringing back a lot of memories for me.

CCRP:  It’s incredible, there’s no doubt about that. But it’s a whole lot of work.  Ever think it’s just too much?

LJ:  No, it’s not too much.  But you’re right, Dave, as you well know through your efforts at CCRP. It’s a lot of very hard work. But when you think of the people we’ve helped, I’m reminded that it’s worth every second.

Help us keep helping others.  Please consider donating your products and/or services, giving time as a Volunteer, coming out to watch as a spectator, signing up as a free agent player or bringing your team to enjoy all of our festivities. The fun includes: online fundraising, silent auction, drawings, complimentary food & beverages, vendors, playoff beard contest and much more!

Our success with this Event would not be possible without our amazing sponsors, beneficiaries, partners, vendors, contributors, staff & volunteers.

Don’t miss the 2016 Quest 9 Charity Adult Hockey Tournament, benefiting CCRP, NHL Hockey Fights Cancer and Third Way Center. It all happens April 22-24, 2016 at the Edge Ice Arena, 6623 S Ward St, Littleton, CO. Hope to see you there!

For more info on this wonderful event, call 720.475.5740 or 720.352.8934. You can donate online here. You can find out more about the tournament and Foothills Event Managment here. Find out more about Competitive Edge Hockey here or on Facebook.