DECATUR – Hundreds showed up to the Decatur Civic Center for the return of some of the youth hockey program’s former players.
The Decatur Youth Hockey Association hosted their first Alumni Weekend by bringing back over 100 former players, coaches, and staff to get back out on the ice again. With DYHA rising in popularity thanks to the Hockeyville USA contest this summer, Director of Hockey Shane Brilley says it was time to give back to the community after receiving so much.
“Our community is rich in hockey,” says Brilley. “It’s a holiday weekend, but people are out here still supporting us. This time, however, we are giving back as all of the proceeds are going to the American Cancer Society and Toys for Tots.”
Brilley says there were so many players coming back that they had to split up the alumni game into two games. The first senior alumni game was those who were 30 years old and up, while the second game was 18-30 year olds.
Matt Pangrac was excited to get back on the ice and play with some of his former teammates.
“This was a big part of my life for 14 years, so to be back here in Decatur is just great,” says Pangrac. “I had so many fond memories as a kid with some of these guys, so I’m definitely glad to be back here.”
While it was mostly fun and games, Pangrac says the guys did play with a competitive edge.
“I expected it to be competitive and that’s what happened out there,” he says. “A lot of us are older now, though, so the game slowed down quite a bit after that first period. But I’m glad I got back to play and had a really good time.”
Brilley says he knew it would be a popular event, and hopes to continue doing alumni weekends every year.