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Off of their skates and onto sleds

Rosemount High School players will square off Sunday against members of the Minnesota Northern sled hockey team. This is the second straight year for the fundraiser.

The Rosemount High School boys hockey team knows how to get around a rink on two skates. A sled might be an entirely different matter.

They'll give it a try, though. And they'll do it for a good cause.

On Sept. 27, the Irish will unlace their skates and take a seat to take on members of the Minnesota Northern sled hockey team. They'll use two shortened hockey sticks to propel themselves around their home ice and hope to score a few goals against men who have been playing the sport for years. They might not win, but the event's organizers hope they'll at least bring in some money.

This is the second year RHS players have been involved in a fundraiser for the sled hockey team. The event started last year after Rosemount resident Sue Saintey met one of the team's coaches at the gym where she works out.

"I know they need it," Saintey said. "Hockey is so expensive, and these guys have to travel to play other teams. I love hockey so much, all these years watching it. I thought it would be fun to do something for them."

Saintey's son played hockey in Rosemount, and he currently coaches the Irish JV team with her husband, Rick. The couple has been active in the Rosemount Area Hockey Association.

Rick got on board quickly when his wife raised the idea of a fundraiser last year, He was coach of a Squirt B team, then, and he always has his team put on a fundraiser. This one seemed like a good opportunity.

Last year's event raised "well over $3,000," Rick Saintey said. He and his wife hope for even more this time around, but there are benefits that go beyond money.

"It's great camaraderie for not only their guys, our guys, all the guys," Rick said. "It was really neat. It was a little interesting at the beginning, but once everybody got going on the ice, on the sleds, everybody had a great time."

Rick believes it's good for his players to see people who continue to enjoy the game of hockey even if they can't get out on two skates.

The fundraiser was a big help for the sled hockey team. It helped them pay their way to a national tournament.

Rosemount Middle School student Nicklas Nelson plays on the Minnesota Ice Hawks, a youth sled hockey team associated with the Northern.

RAHA donated ice time for the event last year and will again this year. Sue Saintey said people have been eager to help out however they can.

"I've gotten people who were involved last year calling up and saying, 'Sue, I got the flyer. What do you need me to do this year?'" she said.

Last year, the stands were half filled for the game. She hopes to fill them completely this year.

"That's what they really want," she said. "They want people to come watch them play, because they don't get a lot of people at their games."

The fundraiser will take place at 7 p.m. Jan. 27 at the Rosemount Ice Arena.