Ruskin brings Relay to the ice rink
July 28, 2007
Parkite Lisa Ruskin lives on the ice. She’s an avid hockey player and makes it her business to be at the Park City Ice Arena as much as possible.
She also loves fund-raising.
That’s interesting combination of hobbies, for sure, but she knew at some point she could bring the two together. As a long-time supporter of the annual Park City Relay for Life cancer fund-raising event, Ruskin always thought that she could bring some sort of ice element into the all-night relay race.
"I’ve always been dreaming, wouldn’t it be cool to have some ice time as part of it," Ruskin said.
With that in mind, she headed to the first event-steering-committee meeting last fall and found her planets aligning when she learned that the relay venue had been moved to Quinn’s Junction. With the rink right next store, she suggested that some events could be held on the ice. A few OKs from rink general manager Stacey Noonan and the steering committee and Ruskin was on her way.
Dubbed "Help Us Ice Cancer," the ice portion of the event will feature a full night’s worth of activities that will run in conjunction with the traditional team relay, where participants take turns walking all night to raise money for the cause.
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She started by enlisting all of her "ice friends" to help make the event a success. She convinced both of the women’s hockey teams she plays with to form a relay team and each woman raised the required minimum of $100. Then she got two more men’s teams on board. After that, she organized a number of hockey games and a speedskating exhibition presented by the Park City Speedskating Club. For spectators who don’t want to spend all their time watching from the stands, she also organized open broomball games for all ages and public-skate times throughout the night.
The highlight, she says, is the "Skating with the Stars" open skate that will give the public the chance to skate with Olympic hero Eric Heiden and former National Hockey League-er (NHL) Andre Faust.
The fifth annual Park City Relay for Life event is part of a nationwide effort to help the American Cancer Society (ACS) raise money to find a cure. The relay id built on teams — businesses, families and friends who gather together and walk in the all-night event as a team. Team members take turns throughout the night, so someone is always walking. Tents will be set up throughout the area so people may alternate between sleeping and walking. The ACS describes the event as both a celebration and a solemn remembrance of life.
Ruskin isn’t looking to replace the outdoor walk. Relay participants can do their leg and then head inside for public skating or a demonstration. The athletes will be exempt from walking while they are playing and then go back outside to walk the course.
Ruskin is hoping that, by including ice sports, she is bringing in a whole new demographic of fund-raisers into the race.
"I’m walking a fine line here to attract people and not detract from the core of the relay," Ruskin explained.
It’s her hope that the relay and the ice component will get more and more popular in the years to come. She envisions youth hockey and three-on-three competitions next year. She also expects more former and current NHL players who make their summer homes in the area to join the event.
Those not involved in the relay can come and watch the demonstrations and join the stars for late-night open skating. Park City local Edo Bernasconi is covering the cost of the rink rental and the Park City Ice Arena has agreed to reduce fees. A nominal donation will be asked to cover skate rental and ice time.
"We want to invite everyone to come out and be a part of this," Ruskin said. "It will make the relay that much more popular."
The ice influence will also extend to the relay course. The Utah Grizzlies minor-league hockey team will also get involved by sending its mascot, Grizzbee, to join the walkers outdoors. They have also donated a shooting lane for people to practice their hockey shots inside the ice arena.
Registration for the Relay for Life will be open until the start of the event. People can learn more about the event and become involved either by walking or making a donation at http://www.acsevents.org/relay/ut/parkcity.
Relay For Life "Help Us Ice Cancer" Ice Events
Park City Ice Rink at Quinn’s Junction
7-7:30 p.m Youth Broomball Game (appearance by Zac the Clown)
7:45- 8:45 p.m. Speedskating Relay
8:45- 9:15 p.m. Speedskating Demo
9:30- 10:15 p.m. Open "Skate with the Stars" – Olympian Eric Heiden and
ex-Philadelphia Flyer Andre Faust
10:15- 11:15 p.m. Relay Luminaria Ceremony outside / Zamboni
11:15 p.m-12:30 a.m. Men’s Hockey: Rockets vs. Breadheads
12:45 – 2 a.m. Women’s Hockey: Mixed Park City Predators &
Salt Lake Black Diamonds
2- 3 a.m. Adult Broomball Game
4:15-4:45 a.m. Adult "Skate with the Stars" or Free Skate
5- 6 a.m. Relay Closing Ceremonies outside
Times are approximate; schedule is subject to change.