Skating For A Cause

Hockey Game Raises Nearly $10K For Panama Student

First responders participate in Community Through Hockey for this year's fourth annual game raising money for charity. More than $9,600 was raised for Kody Howard, a fourth-grade Panama student battling stomach cancer. Submitted photo

The parents of Kody Howard said their son can’t stop smiling after two teams of first responders raised more than $9,600 for “Howard Strong” by playing a hockey game at Northwest Arena on Sept. 7.

“He’s battling cancer, but Friday night, I don’t think he thought about it,” said Eric Herman, Jamestown firefighter and Community Through Hockey founder and president.

Howard is a 9-year-old fourth-grade student from Panama who is battling stomach cancer. After hearing his story, Herman decided the goal of this year’s game would be to raise funds for Howard’s treatment. The charity, which is intended to be registered as an official nonprofit entity by next year’s game, raises money for different charitable causes every year since 2015. They usually raise money for those fighting off childhood diseases.

“(The game) went off without a hitch,” Herman said. “I’m blown away by the total.”

This year’s total raised by the Line of Courage Spartans and Lakeview Shock Bulldogs is the largest amount of money raised in a single Community Through Hockey game. Local police officers and firefighters made up the Spartans roster, and officers from the Lakeview Shock Incarceration Correctional Facility took to the ice for the Bulldogs.

Herman said the Bulldogs earned their win but also mentioned the game was a win for the community in general. Even though a few area high schools hosted home football games the same evening, 300 to 400 people showed up for the hockey game.

“It goes to show people are going to come out for a good cause,” Herman said. “It was an amazing night, and I am so proud of both teams, all our volunteers and the community who really came out and supported Kody.”

Kallie’s Krusade, an organization dedicated to raising funds for the treatment of childhood cancer and other diseases, contributed $1,000 to the total for “Howard Strong.” Community Through Hockey began their charitable endeavors by donating to the Krusade in 2015, and Shane Swan, Jamestown police officer and father of deceased daughter Kallie Swan, who was the inspiration for Kallie’s Krusade in her fight with cancer, has made sure his organization has donated to Community Through Hockey for the past three years.

“They’ve been successful in honoring Kallie and raising money,” Herman said.

For Community Through Hockey’s biggest fundraising event so far, Herman said he only expected to raise at most $7,000.

He said a lot of money was raised before and during the game with the help of raffle baskets sponsored by various local companies.

“People really enjoyed themselves Friday night,” Herman said. “I had a lot of people say ‘I want to help out next year.’ We hope to be in the same boat next year.”

With the charity only seeming to grow bigger every year, Herman thinks next year’s game will be just as successful, if not more so. He attributes the continued success to local businesses, volunteers and community members coming together for the various causes they’ve helped out.

To raise more awareness, Community Through Hockey shirts will soon be available for purchase.

Updates regarding the shirts and future announcements can be found by liking the Community Through Hockey page on Facebook.