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Power Outage doesn’t Turn Out the Lights on John Carroll’s Fundraising Efforts

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JCU’s October charity game for the Lerner School at the Cleveland Clinic was almost derailed by a power outage. However, the Blue Streaks and Michigan-Dearborn were still able to put on a show for their special guests.

As the idiom states, even the best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray. This was exactly the case for the John Carroll Blue Streaks and their annual charity game this season.

JCU had set up the third game of their pre-halloween weekend to serve as a fundraiser for the Lerner School at the Cleveland Clinic Center for Autism. However, a power outage shortly after warm ups led to the postponement of the game between the two teams.

“We just were another causal of hurricane Sandy as we were finally getting the wind and rain from the storm it was causing a lot of car accidents and affecting transformers all over town,” said JCU coach Mike O’Grady. “We later found out that a car accident on [Route 91] had taken out a transformer knocking out power to the entire campus of Gilmour.”

The power outage, which was expected to last for hours, had the potential to tarnish what was sure to be a great afternoon for both teams, the fans and visiting students from the Lerner School. Some quick thinking cooked up a shootout between both teams that involved the full roster from each squad.

A shootout consisting of plenty of creative and sometimes humorous dekes and celebrations ensured that those in attendance still got to see some hockey that day despite the let down from the power outage. One lucky Lerner Center student got to pose with the two teams upon completion of the skills competition.

“It was a blast,” O’Grady said. “Everyone had so much fun with it, even the [Michigan-Dearborn] goalie went and gave one of the Lerner students a fist bump through the glass and the kid was elated. The celebrations were great and the score didn’t matter it was just about having fun and putting on a show for the people who stayed throughout the complications of the power outage.”

Although the power outage forced some major changes to the planned game – the rescheduled game will be played on January 13 at Dearborn – the fundraising effort was still a rousing success. While the outage eliminated the ability for the post-game ceremony to announce the results of the fundraising effort, the outage didn’t prevent the Blue Streaks from exceeding the goal they set for the game. The entire gate profit from attendance was donated along with other on-campus efforts from the week leading up to the game. O’Grady noted that a number of Dearborn players also added generous donations to the effort once the shootout concluded.

As a team at a Jesuit institution, the Blue Streaks participate in one major service project on a yearly basis. Between the various charitable efforts at games in previous years to five years coaching the Learn-to-Play program at Gilmour, JCU has maintained a consistent presence in the community for a number of seasons. While the Livestrong Foundation and food banks in Northeast Ohio have benefited from previous JCU charity games, joining forces with The Lerner School offered a different way for the team to give back.

“In the three years I have been here this was the biggest fundraising effort that our guys put forth,” O’Grady said. “The charity of choice just fell into our lap through a friend of mine who happened to work for the Lerner Center.

“We chose to go in that direction because we felt the timing was right and it would allow our guys to fulfill their requirement and allow them to experience something they would not normally get to experience.”

The relationship with The Lerner Center didn’t just end when the lights went out at Gilmour either. Some Blue Streak players were able to make a special visit to the school while the entire team participated in an open skate with part-time students from the Lerner School.

“Our guys had a blast and the kids seemed to love skating the players,” O’Grady said. “We would like to be able to give more of our guys a chance to go down to the [Lerner School] to visit and hang out with the kids and learn about what a great place the school is and all that goes into caring for and teaching the kids.”

O’Grady also pointed to more plans for the horizon with JCU’s relationship with the community. Although he doesn’t believe anything will be added for the spring semester, he hopes that JCU’s involvement with community projects continues to grow.

“We are looking to expand for next year and have two community service efforts one each semester,” he said. “It is great for our guys to help out and creates and opportunity to learn and help kids that our guys would not normally get the opportunity to interact with.”

Barring any unforeseen hiccups, all future plans for JCU’s charitable outreach are ready to expand. Even if the lights aren’t on, the Blue Streaks will be giving back.



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