Park City Pioneers center Matt Long, fighting for the puck at right, helped organize Pucks for Possibilities, a fundraiser for the National Ability Center
Park City Pioneers center Matt Long, fighting for the puck at right, helped organize Pucks for Possibilities, a fundraiser for the National Ability Center that will be held during the Pioneers game against the San Diego Skates on Jan. 3 and 4. (Christopher Reeves/Park Record)
When the Park City Pioneers hockey team takes the ice at the Park City Ice Arena against the San Diego Skates this weekend, they will be helping the National Ability Center through a program called Pucks for Possibilities.

For starters, the team will donate 50 percent of ticket sales to the Jan. 3 and Jan. 4 games to the NAC, said Pioneers center Matt Long.

"We will also hold some opportunity drawings during intermission and give away a jersey that the team signed and give out more prizes," Long told The Park Record. "The money raised from the opportunity drawings will also be donated to the NAC."

In addition, the intermission will feature a sled hockey demonstration presented by the NAC, and a short video screening.

"There will be all kinds of fun stuff going on those nights," Long said. "It's really just about giving back to the community."

Doing a benefit for a nonprofit such as the National Ability Center, an organization that "empowers individuals of all abilities by building self-esteem, confidence and lifetime skills through sport, recreation and educational programs," was something that is important to the Park City Pioneers.

"We want to get involved with the community and give something back," Lon said. "Community involvement is a huge aspect of our organization and is one of our big goals."

Since its inception in 2009, the Park City Pioneers, a member of the U.S. Hockey's Sr. Elite division, has been involved with benefits for different charities in the Park City Area.

"We thought it would be a good idea to do something special during our home games," Long explained. "So for our first home game of 2014, we selected the National Ability Center."

The decision was a personal one for Long.

"My dad was a quadriplegic," he said. "He was hurt in a skiing accident back in 2009, and lived in a chair for the past three years of his life.

"The NAC hits home for me because of that experience and it seemed like a natural fit to partner with them for this cause," Long said. "If we help out these types of organizations, I think everyone can benefit. While the NAC is well-known in Park City, not everyone knows about it. So it will be nice for them to bring some awareness in the community."

The idea for Pucks for Possibilities was inspired by other Mountain West hockey teams in Montana and Idaho.

"There are other teams who have gotten involved with other organizations and they are seeing a wealth of outpouring from the community at their games," Long said. "Community involvement is a huge part of the Park City Pioneers' success, and we want to make sure we show our appreciation."

Long said he's looking forward to playing against the Skates.

"They are a new team in the Mountain West Hockey League and there should be a big crowd in attendance," he said. "That will give us an opportunity to do some great fundraising."

The Park City Pioneers will host a Pucks for Possibilities fundraiser during its games against the San Diego Skates on Jan. 3 and Jan. 4 at the Park City Ice Arena, 600 Gillmor Way at Quinn's Junction. Friday's game will begin at 8:15 p.m. and Saturday's game will begin at 7:15 p.m. Tickets are available by visiting www.pcpioneershockey.com or at the door.