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Community: wheelCHAIRity Game

by Katharine Kelley / Carolina Hurricanes
Some of you might be confused by the title of my blog. I imagine that you can deduce the meaning if you pull out a few of the root words – wheelchair and “chairity”. Nonetheless, I’ll give you some more details so you can be fully informed.

Katharine Kelley
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On Sunday, July 19, the RBC Center is hosting the Carolina Powerhockey Invitational Final and consolation game. The Carolina Powerhockey Invitational is put on by the Carolina Fury and the North Carolina Electric Wheelchair Hockey Association (NCEWHA).

The NCEWHA was founded by former Carolina Hurricanes community relations intern, Jonathan Greeson. Greeson launched the program in 2003 with the goal to develop a quality hockey program for people in North Carolina who require the use of an electric wheelchair in daily life. As a result, the Carolina Fury powerhockey team spawned from the NCEWHA. Greeson’s goal of creating a team for people bound to electric wheelchairs became a reality. The Carolina Fury is comprised of individuals (including Greeson) from across the state with varying levels of motor capability, but they all have the ability to compete.

The Carolina Powerhockey Invitational’s opening rounds will be played at Millbrook High School with the final rounds culminating at the RBC Center on Sunday, July 19. Powerhockey teams are traveling in from Minnesota, Michigan and Philadelphia to participate in the tournament. The consolation game will begin at 2:00 p.m., and the puck drop for the final game is at 5:00 p.m.

However, there is a special charity game (hence my title, wheelCHAIRity game) that will take place at 3:30pm. Captain Rod Brind’Amour and forward Chad LaRose will join other members of the Carolina Hurricanes organization for a manual wheelchair floor hockey game versus Mike Maniscalco and his team from 99.9 the Fan ESPN Radio. Hurricanes TV color analyst Tripp Tracy will add some depth to the Hurricanes’ roster. He may even commentate live from the floor. Additionally, Hall of Fame radio play-by-play broadcaster of the Hurricanes, Chuck Kaition, will also be on hand to emcee and call the charity game. You will not want to miss these two teams go head to head all in the name of charity.

In preparation for the tournament and charity game, 99.9 the Fan ESPN Radio will be holding a few radio interviews. Our very own Doug Warf will be in studio with Mike Maniscalco on Wednesday at 12:25 for an on-air bit, and Shawn Hessee (Carolina Fury team member) will be calling in on Friday around 12:40 for a live interview during Maniscalco’s lunch show.

Admission to the tournament is free of charge, but volunteers will be accepting donations in exchange for a Kids ‘N Community Foundation “Hockey with Heart” Koozie at the door. Any donation over $1 will be worthy of an exchange. All proceeds from donations will benefit the NCEWHA, which relies on fundraising and donations to maintain its existence.

We will also be hosting a raffle to generate funds for the NCEWHA. Raffle items include a 2008-09 Team Signed Poster, Autographed Michael Leighton Carolina Hurricanes Replica Jersey, Game Worn Josef Vasicek (2005-2006) Carolina Hurricanes Jersey, and a Hurricanes Golf Package including a Big World Golf Photo Signed by Ray Whitney, Hurricanes golf polo, golf glove, ‘Canes themed golf balls and golf tees, and a Titleist golf umbrella. The exchange rate for raffle tickets is 1 ticket for $1; 7 for $5; 15 for $10, or 30 for $20. Raffle winners will be announced during the 2nd intermission of the charity game.

Members of the Eye Care Associates Storm Squad and Stormy will be on hand to greet you on the way in, sell you raffle tickets or koozies, and take pictures. Popcorn, Hot Dogs, and Drinks will also be available for purchase at the event.

Don’t miss the opportunity to come watch these dedicated and passionate athletes play a sport that people may have told them they never would be able to play. Meanwhile, you can enjoy a few laughs during the charity game, win a raffle item, and receive a playoff koozie for only a dollar donation to NCEWHA. Remember, all proceeds benefit the NCEWHA – an organization that relies of fundraising and donations to provide this hockey opportunity to its participants.

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