Friday, March 7, 2014

Suns hockey donates over $100,000 to youth groups

Through the Suns Foundation, Inc.

Sun Valley Suns captain Ryan Enrico (back row, right) pre-sents a check last week to City of Ketchum Recreation Supervisor John Kearney Jr. (left) representing this year’s donation from the Sun Valley Suns/Suns Foundation Inc. to the Park Penguins youth program. Wearing their gear are Park Penguins, from left, Whit Kelley, Cole Curci, Langley Bier, Anton Holter, Ethan Desler and Liam Inman.
Express photo by Willy Cook

     In 1993, the Sun Valley Suns men’s hockey team, now in its 39th season, acted upon former Suns player/coach Glenn Hunter’s idea to establish Saturday night benefit events.

     Conducted during Suns games at Sun Valley Skating Center, the benefit nights have since that time supported youth-oriented non-profits in the Wood River Valley.

     Since Hunter started the program 21 years ago, the Suns’ weekend series have contributed to a wide variety of youth organizations.

     Current Suns coach John Burke, one of the pioneer Sun Valley players nearly 40 years ago, said, “As an organization this community has given us a lot. We wanted to give back.”

     Nearly 10 years ago, the Suns formalized the program through the newly-created Suns Foundation Inc. that included former players Burke, Hunter, John Weekes and Dave Hutchinson, along with team benefactor George Gund III, Mac Barnhardt and PGA pro golfer Davis Love III.

     Just recently, Burke said the Suns Foundation Inc. has now given well over $100,000 to community youth programs through the weekend benefits that are connected with Sun Valley Suns home games. Local youth programs can expect checks of $1,000 from the weekend benefit nights.

     “We’ve been the ‘Town Team,’ for so long, this has become a great way to show our appreciation,” said Burke.

     The final Suns series of the season March 14-15 against Park City (Utah) Pioneers will benefit Higher Ground. Suns players also contribute their time to events like the Boulder Mountain Ski Tour, Ketchum Wagon Days and coaching ice hockey to young people.

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