The third annual Racker Rivals Big Red charity hockey game takes place tomorrow night, at Cornell University’s Lynah Rink. Franziska Racker Centers, in partnership with Tompkins Trust Company and Cornell University, are once again raising funds to support local people with disabilities and their families. The evening will include two 25-minute halves played by the evenly matched Red and White teams, with a shootout at the end of the second half.
Ithaca native Dustin Brown is returning with his wife Nicole for this year’s event. The two-time Stanley Cup winner is a current NHL player with the LA Kings. He’ll be joined on the ice by Joe Nieuwendyk and Kevyn Adams. Nieuwendyk is a Cornell Alum who is also one of only ten players in NHL history to win the Stanley Cup with three different teams; Adams has played in over 500 NHL games, and won the Stanley Cup with the Carolina Hurricanes.
Cornellian Lauriane Rougeau, a gold medal winner at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, and former Cornell NCAA Second Team All American, will make her first appearance at this year’s Racker Rivals Big Red game. Rougeau was part of the Montreal Stars team that captured the inaugural Clarkson Cup in 2009, and was Ivy League Rookie of the Year in 2009–10 during her time at CU.
Rougeau is joined by Alyssa Gagliardi, another Cornell alum, who is returning after playing in last year’s game. Gagliardi played in her first All-Star Game as a member of the National Women’s Hockey League in January, and played in two “Four Nations Cups” in both 2014 and 2015 as a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team.
Josh Pauls, two-time gold medalist in the 2014 and 2010 Paralympic Winter Games, is also new to the event. He’ll be joined by recent NHL prospects and drafts Cole Bardreau, Joakim Ryan and Alex Tuch.
Local coaches hitting the ice for this excellent cause include Cornell’s Big Red Hockey coaches Mike Schafer, Ben Syer, and Doug Derraugh, as well as Ithaca College Men’s Soccer Coach Pat Ouckama. Greg Hartz, President of Tompkins Trust Company, and Topher Scott, former CU Men’s Assistant Coach, will skate alongside Big Red alumni including Jeremy Downs, Jan Pajerski, Andy Iles, and many more.
The event has grown to include family activities before the game. Beginning at 3 pm, there will be a community BBQ outside of Lynah, and facepainting for the kids. Inside, there’s a Family Open Skate and autograph session with Gagliardi and Rougeau, who will skate with attendees before the game begins. (Racker Centers notes that adult skates are free and available at Lynah Rink, but you will need to bring your own child-sized skates for the kids.)
During the intermission, the Ithaca Youth Hockey Association’s Mites team will play a game as well. Cornell’s own Touchdown the Bear and the Cornell Pep Band will be there for entertainment.
The Racker Rivals Big Red game has become Racker Centers’ flagship event, and raises much-needed funds for the organization to use assisting individuals with disabilities of all ages in Cortland, Tompkins, and Tioga Counties. The Racker Centers provide Early Intervention, support staff, and respite opportunities for caregivers, as well as educational opportunities and serving as an intermediary for state-run programs that offer additional services to our community.
In addition to buying tickets for the game, you can help support the Racker Centers by pledging a player, and taking part in some friendly competition, at www.rackercenters.org/rackerrivalsbigred
Tickets are available in advance for $10 at www.rackercenters.org, the Cornell Big Red Ticket Office in Bartels Hall, or any Ithaca or Trumansburg branch of Tompkins Trust Company. You can also buy tickets for $15 at the door. Children 3 and under will get in for free. The game begins at a new time of 5pm.