Silverthorne couple affected by 2015 Flight For Life crash contribute to charity pond hockey tournament
SILVERTHORNE — Following a life-altering helicopter crash, Silverthorne locals Dave and Amanda Repsher became advocates for safety in the helicopter industry as well as for burn survivors and organ donation.
Dave was severely injured as a Flight For Life nurse when a helicopter he was in plummeted into the parking lot at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center, killing pilot Patrick Mahany.
After Dave’s extensive surgeries and 13 months in the hospital, the couple finally was able to return to their home in Silverthorne. Now, the two work to help others in times of crisis and to prevent deadly helicopter accidents.
The couple started the Dave and Amanda Repsher Foundation and have become ambassadors for the Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation, which aims “to help adult hockey players and their families in times of crises due to catastrophic injury or illness.”
The Repshers and Dawg Nation have partnered to put on the Winter Classic, a charity pond hockey tournament. The tournament will have games running from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 11-12 at the North Pond in Silverthorne.
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There will be 50 teams composed of Summit County residents, players from the Denver area and even a few former National Hockey League players. Some of those former pro players include Milan Hejduk, Jan Hejda and John-Michael Liles. There also will be several former University of Denver hockey players, including two teams made up of DU alumni.
Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation CEO Martin Richardson said the event is a benefit for two families who have experienced death and illness. Since 2011, when Dawg Nation began, the foundation has helped hundreds of families, he said.
“Our group is a group of hockey players that started in 2011 to help hockey players in need,” Richardson said.
Winter Classic charity pond hockey tournament
When: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Jan. 11-12
Where: North Pond Park, 108 Hamilton Creek Road, Silverthorne
Cost: Free to watch. $650 per team of six to eight.
Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation party
When: 6:30 p.m. Jan. 11
Where: Silverthorne Pavilion, 400 Blue River Parkway
“For a lot of these people, it takes one little bit of stress away,” Dave said.
Amanda said Dawg Nation was there for her and Dave when he was in the hospital and that the support allowed her to take time off to stay with him. Richardson explained that several months after the accident, the Repshers were in dire need of financial support, so Dawg Nation put on a charity hockey tournament that raised more than $80,000.
“We both had full-time, very busy jobs, and it allowed me to be by his side,” Amanda said.
In order to raise money, there is a $650 registration fee for teams of six to eight players, and celebrity pros will be “auctioned off” to play with teams. There also are sponsorship opportunities for businesses who want to help fund the event.
Silent and live auctions at the tournament party — 6:30 p.m. Jan. 11 at Silverthorne Pavilion — also help raise money. The party will include food, drinks and live music. The tournament and the party are free to attend.
The event is volunteer run, and Summit Fire & EMS helped out Tuesday, Dec. 31, by flooding the pond with fire hoses to make for a better ice rink.
Richardson said the foundation hopes to raise $50,000.
Dave, who has played hockey for nearly 20 years, will be on one of the hockey teams along with Matt Martinez, who donated a kidney to Dave in 2017 despite the two being no more than acquaintances at the time.
“He’s family now,” Amanda said about Martinez.
Residents and businesses can register as a player or sponsor at dawgnationhockey.org.
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