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Team from nuclear plant playing in weekend-long hockey tournament

Last updated: August 17. 2013 11:43PM - 2337 Views
SUSAN BETTINGER Times Leader Correspondent



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Workers at PPL’s Susquehanna nuclear power plant are used to generating a lot of heat.


But this weekend they are taking to the ice to help raise money for charity.


A hockey team consisting of 16 employees from the facility is participating for the first time in the Dave Burke Memorial Hockey Tournament.


Tim Rausch, the plant’s chief nuclear officer and a forward on the hockey team, said plant employees “are always interested in helping out with charitable events” and that participating in the tournament is “a great opportunity to play hockey and give back to the community.”


The tournament began Friday and will conclude today with games at The Revolution Ice Center in Pittston and The Coal Street Complex in Wilkes-Barre.


The tournament was founded by the family of Dave Burke, a PPL lineman in Scranton who died of lymphatic cancer in 2008 at the age of 24. Burke was a goalie in Wilkes Barre/Scranton adult leagues who continued to play hockey even after undergoing chemotherapy treatment.


The tournament’s proceeds go to charities such as the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and the Make-A-Wish Foundation along with helping to purchase hockey equipment for children in need.


More than 20 teams at a variety of skill and age levels participated.


Mimi Mylin, PPL’s corporate information specialist, said that she noticed the event in an internal publication and thought that the team’s participation was “great idea” and that the cause was “deserving of some attention.”


It’s not the first time plant employees have chipped in for charity.


Rausch said that employees from the plant have given $400,000 to local charities. He added that the plant is currently involved in a program that distributes hundreds of backpacks and school supplies to disadvantaged children. The facility’s United Way drive raised $2.3 million, Rausch said.


But the chance to play hockey and raise money for charity had him eager to join the tournament.


It’s not all fun and games, though. There is serious hockey being played, and some players travel extensively just to be involved.


The top division of competition includes certain players who have seen ice time as members of American Hockey League clubs.


“It is fun,” said Joe Hollender, who was playing for Bethlehem Steel’s company team. “I get the chance to play hockey, and it is for a good cause.”


Tim Clifford drove six hours from a town outside of Toronto to participate. He plans on coming back each year the tournament is held, he said.


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