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CEDAR RAPIDS — Every sport believes it has the most tight-knit community out there, but the hockey community — specifically the United States Hockey League community — really went about proving it this week.
Players from the Dubuque Fighting Saints were among the thousands of volunteers who filled sandbags for use as the city of Cedar Rapids braced for flooding of the Cedar River. Cedar Rapids RoughRiders Coach/General Manager Mark Carlson, his wife, Tammy, and players also aided Sunday, the day after Dubuque and Cedar Rapids kicked off their respective USHL seasons with a game against each other.
The RoughRiders lost Friday night at home to Sioux Falls, 8-3. The Stampede announced Friday afternoon that proceeds from the team’s 50/50 drawing for its home game Saturday will go to benefit the Cedar Rapids and Waterloo communities.
The RoughRiders previously announced that proceeds from tickets sold to Friday’s game would go to the American Red Cross Greater Iowa Chapter.
“We wanted to do our part to provide assistance to the community that has supported our organization here for the last 17 seasons in Cedar Rapids,” RoughRiders Vice President Mark Meyer said.
Dubuque Coach Jason Lammers said he knew about the flooding by reading news reports last week. He said he could really tell how serious the situation was when his team’s bus drove through town en route to the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena last weekend.
He said a Dubuque billet family really got the ball rolling on assisting. A bus Sunday brought several Fighting Saints players back to town to help.
“I want to thank Coach Lammers because they had a lot of players here,” Carlson said. “That’s the good thing about hockey. We are one big family.”
“As much as we compete against each other, we’re all family,” Lammers agreed.
Carlson said he thought having his players attend one of the city’s daily press conferences at the Ice Arena really helped them realize the gravity of the situation and how all of the volunteers helped prevent a catastrophe the size of the 2008 flood in town.
“I think that gave them more of a feel for everything,” Carlson said. “It taught them the importance of planning, executing, teamwork. Those are great life lessons for us all. I think it was a great learning experience for our guys.”
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