Much has been written in this space about the UNE hockey team’s inability to keep opponents off the scoreboard this season, but at least the defensive zone is not the only area in which the Nor’easters have been very generous. From the beginning, the program has made an effort to involve itself in the local community, and this year’s players have given their time to several charitable or volunteer endeavors.
In November, six players participated in Helping Hands 2010, a joint program between UNE, Kennebunk High School, and Biddeford High School. The annual event gathers food for distribution to local food pantries, with this year’s edition coming up with 26,000 pounds of edibles to give to six food pantries. The squad assisted with a bottle drive to raise $420 towards purchasing some of the food, and their efforts were commended by the university as a “huge help.”
UNE hockey’s involvement with Helping Hands was orchestrated by sophomore forward Adam Laite, the club’s go-to guy when it comes to organizing community outreach projects. The Nova Scotia native was also instrumental in organizing another venture in which the whole team collected food for donation to the York County Food Pantry.
Additionally, the program continues to maintain its relationship with Biddeford Youth Hockey. Nor’easter netminders help out their younger counterparts with Goalie University, a series of free clinics for Biddeford’s aspiring goaltenders to work on their skills. Players also assist BYH coaches with running practices, carrying on a tradition that has gone on since the founding of the UNE program.
While the team’s efforts on the ice leave something to be desired, its efforts off the ice speak to the program’s ongoing commitment to involvement in the community. The university hasn’t had the best relationship with the town of Biddeford, but the members of the UNE hockey team are working to help out local residents, especially those in need.