Dawg Nation Is…

Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation

Marty and Wes

Dawg Bowl VI was really special, I have a Dawg Bowl jersey signed by my hockey hero, Martin Richardson!

From the captain of Team Minnesota — Wes Syverson:

I am a pastor, retired now, 69 years old.

I also play hockey. My church supported its community by providing finances and goods to: two women’s shelters (battered and chemical abuse), community food shelf (including neighborhood food drives), school social workers (food and gift cards), community youth (one of 100 best places for youth in America), homeless youth project, community grief support group, Reach and restore (helping people without means), and providing a community organizer to gather school, city and churches together to discuss needs.

When I saw Martin Richardson’s Dawg Nation site, it was a match made in heaven, BUT…

We are a bunch of old guys that play in 60-year-old or 65-year-old tournaments. I told Martin that we wanted to be part of something so special but that we were old. We know how to play hockey but in an open age tournament, we are old. To my surprise and delight, Martin made it happen.

Our first game we were killed. Our goalie said, “We’ll see how NOVICE this next team is.” But to our surprise we were 1-1-1. For 3 years, we have been 1-1-1. Guys can’t understand why we would play 30 year olds to lose. Until they come to the Edge and take part in the Dawg Bowl. It not only changes the lives of the recipients but it changes the lives of the participants.

When we first came Sully was the oldest player in the dawg tournament.

Our Phil was 2 years older. Last year, Sully finally got to play with the old guys as a part of our team. Phil is a cancer survivor and every year plays in the Survivor game. As part of that game, Phil receives a jersey. When he gets home he selects someone who is battling cancer and donates his jersey to that person, in true Dawg Nation style.

Every year, our guys fly home early because we don’t make it to the final game, BUT…

This year we did make it to the final game. Being short, one of our guys also took a slap shot to the foot and was nursing it. (It’s those 20/30 year old’s that shoot like that). He was thinking about not playing but I reminded him that it’s not about winning, it is about the experience. He dressed, played a little and we won.

We all know our world can be a better place when we work together.

There is something special about the hockey community. We not only play together but we are there for each other. The Dawgs are especially here for others and everyone who has travelled to Colorado to play in the Dawg Bowl has been blessed by the organization. There are no better people than the Dawgs.

I am always thankful that Martin found a way for us old guys to be a part of something so very special. Thanks to all of you who are making a difference in the lives of those around us. There are a lot of special recipients. I am one of them. No financial gift, just the gift of being given the privilege of playing in the Dawg Bowl. Play hard, play fair, give back.

Wes Syverson

The Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation exists for one reason, to help adult hockey players and their families in times of crises due to catastrophic injury or illness. In January of 2011, a small group of adult recreation league hockey players decided to start the Foundaton.  What started as an idea to honor a fallen friend and “make a difference” has blossomed into an important resource for families in need.

Since its inception the Foundation has generated over a $1,000,000. A remarkable feat for an organization not even five years old. More importantly, we have been able to positively impact the lives of many.  For the weekend warrior recovering from a nasty injury or a family dealing with a serious illness, Dawg Nation has provided resources and amazing acts of human kindness that have not only changed the lives of our recipients, but also our volunteers at the same time.

It has been an amazing journey so far, and absolutely could not have occurred without the countless volunteer hours of many, and the incredible generosity of many more.

If you haven’t had a chance yet, please take a few minutes to check out our “Giving Back” page. Our recipients are a very diverse group of men and women, and they’re young and not so young. But what they all have in common is that they’re part of our hockey community, and they’ve gone through a difficult period of their lives. Dawg Nation exists to help these people.

Our work has really just begun! We’re picking up steam- more and more people are hearing about us, and are asking how they can join our great cause.

A huge “thank you” to all of you that have made all this possible.  You have made and continue to make the world a better place.