From the captain of Team Minnesota

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