Number of Participants: 20
Hours Donated: 5
Value of Time Served: $845
Event Type: Animal Welfare
Sport: Boys Ice Hockey
School: Niagara-Wheatfield Sr High School
Date: December 13, 2022
Niagara Wheatfield Senior High School
Saunders Settlement Road, Sanborn
No matter how hectic someone’s schedule might be, you can always find time to help out others.
Players for the Niagara-Wheatfield Falcons varsity hockey team helped out the Buffalo-based WNY Heroes organization this past Sunday, a day after playing two games in Canton.
WNY Heroes is a nonprofit organization providing services for local veterans, including peer-to-peer support, financial services, and service dogs. The service dog program, “Positive for Heroes,” started in 2014, paying for service dog training through help received from program sponsors. The veterans are referred to the program through the Veterans Administration, with the dogs provided for free.
WNY Heroes built a new service dog training school for the program with a grand opening planned for today. The Niagara-Wheatfield players helped install the new rubber floor and move furniture around. The Combat Veterans Motorcycle Association 19-6 chapter in Batavia also helped out.
One of the hockey player’s fathers is a sponsor for WNY Heroes. When Chris Krieger, the co-founder and president of WNY Heroes, told the sponsor what they were looking to do and that they needed help, Head Coach Rick Wrazin got contacted about having the team come out.
“We figured 21 guys could get a lot more done than five,” Wrazin said.
What made the team’s volunteer efforts more notable was their schedule the previous two days. The team left at 6 a.m. Friday morning to travel up to St. Lawrence County, at least a four-and-a-half hour drive nearly 300 miles away. They played against the Canton High School Golden Bears on Friday, winning 9-0, and the St. Lawrence Central Larries on Saturday, winning 5-2. After that victory, the team did not arrive back in Western New York until 11 p.m. Saturday night.
Wrazin said those were non-league games the team was invited to play and they like to take a trip every year.