The Austin Bruins have had their share of success on the ice, but local businesses have seen an even bigger impact from the team’s presence off it.
On Feb. 5, the Bruins teamed up with The Hormel Institute to “Paint the Rink Pink.” The ice at Riverside Arena - the NAHL team’s home - was literally painted pink, and, in front of a sellout crowd of 1,900 people, Bruins players wore custom pink jerseys as they took on Coulee Region.
The night began with a ceremonial puck drop by Jan Gehrt, grandmother of Bruins defenseman Jonathan Gehrt; Deb Fischer, mother of forward Chris Fischer; and Barb Pilot, mother of defenseman Matt Pilot. All of these brave women’s lives have been affected by breast cancer.
Throughout the game, fans bid on many wonderful items donated by local businesses, along with items from the NHL’s Minnesota Wild and the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves. The pink event culminated at center ice with a live auction of the custom jerseys.
The Bruins donated all proceeds from the silent and live auctions, as well as pink T-shirt sales, to The Hormel Institute’s breast cancer research division. On Feb. 7, the team presented a check to The Hormel Institute for $22,370.
Austin Bruins players, coaches and staff have been very active in the community since their arrival, and they plan to continue their involvement by visiting local schools and Cub Scout packs, being present at Austin Youth Hockey practices, working alongside the March of Dimes and Salvation Army, as well as the Austin Convention and Visitors Bureau and Chamber of Commerce.