Thursday, March 10, 2016

A Captain Calls out for Help

Forester Tradition Threatened

Dear Friends of LFC Hockey,

I played at LFC from 1974-1978 and had the honor to be one of the captains of the 1978 men’s team that won the NCAA D-II Western Championship and finished 2nd in the NCAA National Tournament.
The school and the hockey program gave me a lot when I needed it most, as a young financial aid kid from Lynn, Massachusetts. I am doing my best to give back to the current generation of men and women players and the legacy of LFC hockey, as well as the school in general.
I am writing to ask for your help.  We urgently need your support.
This year marked the 50th anniversary of LFC hockey. Will there be a 51st year? I am not trying to be melodramatic, just realistic.
We have a once in a lifetime situation with our school’s hockey programs.
We need to take immediate action to replace the ice infrastructure at our Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse and we need your help.
This is your legacy... we are challenging all former LFC hockey players to come together as a united community and contribute now.
The ice refrigeration system at the rink is in hospice care and has been for this entire season. While the rink staff has “MacGyvered” the operating system since the fall, we were lucky to keep ice through the completion of the season this year as our teams continued their quest to win NCHA conference titles (one of the most competitive D-3 conferences in the country) and compete in the NCAA tournament.
The current refrigeration system will not allow hockey or the rink to continue next year at LFC. We need new ice.
I am asking everyone to give as much as they can.  We are looking for 100% participation.  We have 50 years of men hockey alums and 16 years of women alumni.  Every gift counts.  Historically, a relatively small group of alumni players and friends have given when the program needed financial help.  Now, we need everyone to participate if we are to be successful.
The tradition of our hockey program has been built on your legacy. I am calling on you to be there and help your teammates as we raise the funds necessary to replace the infrastructure and allow our tradition to continue and new memories and friendships be created.

Some background on the situation:
Five years ago, phase 1 of the Home Ice Advantage Campaign raised the funds to replace the rink’s roof, install new accessible seating throughout, update and expand the locker rooms, replace the boards and glass, renovate the lobby, modernize the coaches’ offices -- all which made the rink more efficient and improved the look and feel consistent with the top Division III facilities in the country. If you haven’t had a chance to visit, you would be proud and impressed with the outcome. It looks fantastic.
At the start of the Home Ice campaign, we were aware the rink had been operating with the current pipes, refrigeration and old technology for 47 years since 1969. Consultants were brought in and recommended the roof and ice system be replaced, new boards and glass purchased, and accessible seating installed.  However, we pushed the consultants to provide an experienced estimate on how long the current ice system had left before it died (since the estimated costs were $2million of the $4.5 goal) so that funds could be raised over time.  That estimate was a difficult one given the working condition of the system at the time but given the age of the pipes and equipment, a 10 year estimate was given.  Jackie Slaats, President Steve Schutt and the Board made the prudent decision to complete phase 1 as outlined above while the staff continued to care and nurture the existing ice system.  The other contributing factor for this course of action was that only $2 million of the original $4.5 million goal for the Home Ice Campaign was raised at the time the project was slated to begin so there were not sufficient funds to underwrite the roof and other necessary improvements plus replace the ice infrastructure. 
Now is the time we must deal with our current challenge and invest in the future.
The updated rink not only makes for a better overall experience for our current student- athletes and fans, but it is an invaluable asset to help our coaches recruit the best possible players who are considering LFC as well as other D-3 colleges in Minnesota, Wisconsin and the east (NESCAC.)  The arena complements the new recreation center, making south campus an impressive state-of-the-art athletic/recreation/wellness core for the College.
Let’s finish the job. We need to make a decision to start the ice replacement by April.  Please act now, and don’t think some white knight is going to save the day. You can make this happen.
Please push yourself to support this dire situation with as large a gift as you can.  Our need is $2 million.  Half of that goal ($1million) has already been pledged by a combination of alumni, friends of the College and community rink partners, but now we need every former player, as well as every friend of LFC hockey, to support the initiative to raise the remaining $1 million so that we can get to work on the $2 million dollar project.
Please, join me in protecting the tradition and ensuring the future of LFC hockey. or feel free to contact me at 617-650-3800 or Athletic Director Jackie Slaats at 847-735-5290 to discuss the project and/or your support.  Thank you.
Bonded together by LFC hockey,

Joe McCarthy '78