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Ohio sophomore defenseman Tom Pokorney is one of the Bobcats who, upon appeal, will not be suspended for Friday's game against Illinois. (FILE) 

Hockey: Bobcats set to host alumni charity series

Ohio will play in the fifth annual Ice Ghosts series to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

Ohio will play its fifth annual charity series this weekend at Bird Arena against the Ice Ghosts — a team of recent alumni — to raise money for cancer research at the American Cancer Society. 

Just as with every home series this season, the doors will open at 6:45 both nights, Friday and Saturday, ahead of a 7:30 start. 

The Ice Ghosts series started in 2012 after Becky Fuhs, the mother of two alumni, was diagnosed with stage four colon cancer. Fuhs died later that year and the event has continued ever since to honor her and to financially support the fight against cancer. 

“So far it’s worked out well,” coach Sean Hogan said. “The alumni come back and they’re good. It’s some of the best alumni players that have been here the last five years.

"And it’s fun for our guys. It’s supposed to be fun and a way to raise money for an important cause.” 

In its first year, the Ice Ghosts series raised about $700, according to a news release, before bringing in $8,500 in 2013. 

Now that the fifth edition of the charity series has arrived, Hogan said he hopes to see it remain part of the schedule for several years to come. 

As the current alumni get older each year, a new crop of graduating seniors becomes eligible to switch teams. Assistant coach Nathan De La Torre, who was a Bobcat forward from 2011-15, is a prime example. 

“It’s funny, (Nathan) as a player here, he played but he was like, ‘Oh man, it’s hard to get up for the alumni game,’ ” Hogan said. “But now he’s going to play in it and he’s all excited.” 

Ian Smith, a volunteer assistant coach who spent three seasons with Ohio as a goalie, will be a guest referee for the weekend along with his dad.

Cody Black, a forward on the current roster, is looking forward to seeing two of his coaches in different roles this weekend. 

“I’m coming after (De La Torre),” Black said before the question of facing De La Torre had been fully asked. “Not the ref, not Ian. But DLT, he’s definitely not going to score. We’ll make sure that happens.” 

It will be just the fifth weekend since mid-September that Ohio has not played an American Collegiate Hockey Association series. The long season is a grind physically and mentally, which is why the Ice Ghosts series has a more relaxed vibe. 

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The Ice Ghosts have some players who played minor professional hockey, such as the East Coast Hockey League, but penalties and checking will be kept to a minimum. 

“It’ll be a decent-paced game for a little while,” Hogan said. “And then it becomes a bit of an adult league game.” 

The Bobcats use the final weekend before the league national tournament to hold a charity event rather than book a tune-up series, such as Illinois did with Indiana Tech. 

“There’s two sides to that,” Hogan said. “There’s a risk involved (with a regular series) and the risk with this is that with an alumni game there still is a chance of injury — knock on wood — but I think it’s fun. It’s for a good cause and it’s important that we do it.” 


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