By Alan Gionet
COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo. (CBS4) – For the second year in a row, toughened hockey players showed a soft side delivering big help to injured flight nurse Dave Repsher over the weekend.
In a three-day pond hockey tournament, teams joined to help Repsher and other Dawg Nation Hockey programs. The charity helps sick and injured hockey players and the families of those who have died.
The tournament started last year as a way to help Repsher and his wife Amanda as Repsher remained in a hospital.
Repsher was burned over 90 percent of his body in the crash of a Flight For Life helicopter in Frisco in July of 2015. He fought back challenge after challenge to survive and remained in a hospital for over a year.
Money donated by Dawg Nation last year allowed Amanda Repsher to delay returning to work as a nurse to care for her husband full time. He currently has to undergo dialysis daily because of his failed kidneys. He’s still in search of a matching donor.
This year, Repsher arrived at the event and watched a few games. His attendance at a gathering Saturday night brought rousing applause from the players. Repsher played hockey along with skiing, kayaking, running and a host of other outdoor activities before the crash.
Some of his old hockey friends again played on a team named D-Rep in his honor. They were joined by ex-Los Angeles Kings player Derek Armstrong. The D-Rep team won their division in the tournament. Other ex-NHL players, former Colorado Avalanche stars Milan Hejduk and Jan Hejda, also played in the tournament. The Loan Rangers team won the top division.
Dawg Nation president Martin Richardson said the whole tournament weekend raised over $70,000 with most of the money going to Dave and Amanda Repsher. The rest of the money is destined for other hockey players in need.
Find out more about the kidney donor program by visiting uchealth.org/services/transplant-services/living-donation/kidney.