It was UVM Hockey Coach's Kevin Sneddon goal to be coaching this weekend. Maybe just not in this game.
"It'll test me to the max," jokes Sneddon. "I don't know if I've ever been put in this kind of situation before."
No, Sneddon's not coaching his Cats in the NCAA Tournament, but behind the bench at Gutterson for a charity hockey game. GE Healthcare employees are facing off in their annual charity game to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.
"The Ronald McDonald House Charities is a home away from home for families that have seriously ill children," says Pam Fenimore of teh Ronald McDonald House. "We have families come to us from all over the country."
"It's nice knowing that you're helping your community and it's always for a good cause so it feels great," adds GE employee Chris Dean."
Now, you'd think that Sneddon's hockey knowledge would give his squad an advantage, until you see who's standing behind the other bench. Former UVM Hockey coach Mike Gilligan.
"I'm up against a tough one," says Gilligan. "I'm up against the coach of the year in Hockey East and I guess I'm about the only one in the area that can beat him and that's why they called me up."
41 years of coaching experience. These 2 have coached in League Championship games, NCAA Tournament games, the Olympics and guided several players to the NHL. But according to them, games like these are just as important.
"We have an opportunity tonight for all the work that people have put into this to make a difference," says Sneddon. "These are the type of games I'll remember for my entire coaching career."
And while everyone knows the proceeds from the game go to a good cause, once the whistle blows don't think that these two teams and especially these two coaches don't want to come away with a win.
"The guys in the locker room, they look pretty serious and good ole hockey players like to get serious when they put the skates on," says Gilligan. "Same thing with coaches."
"You know I've been going against legends for the last 3 games," laughs Sneddon. "Had to go against Jack Parker on Friday down in Boston, had to go against Jerry york and now I got to go against Mike Gilligan. This is a tough stretch for me."
GE expects to raise 10 thousand dollars for the Ronald McDonald Charities, which in the end is much more important than the final score of the game.
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