Dozens of players faced off in an adult ice hockey game at the Edora Pool Ice Center in Fort Collins. It was June 9.
On Sunday, June 13, Fort Collins resident Brian Wormus contracted bacterial meningitis. He died suddenly the next day.
Then, on June 22, Fort Collins resident Nick Smith died of bacterial meningitis at Poudre Valley hospital.
Today, Fort Collins resident Bill Jubert is recovering from the same disease in a Colorado rehabilitation facility after he was moved from a similar facility in Montana.
All three played hockey with the Fort Collins Adult Hockey Association.
This is the tragic story of a meningitis epidemic that rocked the people of Fort Collins. And from this story, those within the FCAHA and the great community are trying to heal and raise awareness about the disease that started it all.
From Aug. 13 to 15, the Fort Collins Adult Hockey Association will host Face Off Against Meningitis to raise awareness and money to fight septic meningitis and honor victims of the vicious disease.
â€œItâ€™s something weâ€™re doing to help the families and to help the hockey family deal with the shock and knowledge of the two deaths … help our own deal with the grief,â€ said Craig Stinehour, director of Hockey Operations for FCAHA and chairman of the benefit.
On Friday, Aug. 13, FCAHA will kick off the event with entertainment, appetizers and a silent auction at the Fort Collins Hilton Hotel on Prospect Road. Private and corporate sponsors donated all auction items.
Bidders can go head to head for a 1998-1999 Avalanche T-shirt signed by team members (Patrick Roy, Joe Sakic, Peter Forsberg, Bob Hartley, etc.), an Avalanche 2009-2010 signed team jersey, Eagles Hockey memorabilia, a 12-person suite for an Eagles home game, a handmade oak and walnut trunk, green fees at Pelican Lakes and more.
Auction tickets can be purchased for $10 at www.faceoffam.com ahead of time and for $15 at the door using cash, check or credit.
Of the money raised, 90 percent will go to the families of those Fort Collins hockey players affected by meningitis, Stinehour said. The remaining 10 percent will go to Sierraâ€™s Race Against Meningitis, a non-profit organization out of Loveland that raises awareness about and provides vaccinations against meningitis.
On Aug. 14 and 15, people can participate in a 32-team, 2-day tournament at EPIC.
â€œAnyone in the worldâ€ with his or her own hockey gear can play for a great cause, Stinehour said.
While several teams â€“Â with upward of 16 to 17 players â€“ have already signed up, individuals can put their name on the waiting list at www.faceoffam.com. Signing up on this list does not guarantee participation in the tournament, but Stinehour said he would do his best to make sure people could help with the benefit in some way or another.
FCAHA does need people to volunteer to set up and clean up throughout the weekendâ€™s event. Those interested should call or e-mail Stinehour at 970-566-3344 or email@example.com.
Jeff Warning, owner of Rocky Mountain Fresh Gear, entered two teams into the tournament, saying that â€œit seemed like a good fit to be able to put our teams on the ice and represent what we do … keeping people safe and healthy.â€
Rocky Mountain Fresh Gear has two machines that pump ionized air into dirty sports equipment â€“Â pads, helmets, jerseys, etc. â€“, removing bacteria and odor. This process decreases the likelihood that players contract staph infections, which can cause skin infections and more serious illness including: pneumonia, meningitis, septicema, osteomyelitis and endocarditis.
When heâ€™s not on the ice, Warning said he and other RMFG employees will be in charge of a valet station for equipment bags. While keeping them secure â€“â€“ so players can peruse the dayâ€™s events and entertainment â€“â€“ the bags will get the full spa treatment, traveling through Warningâ€™s sanitizing machines.
Itâ€™s all about keeping people â€œcleaner, healthier, safer,â€ Warning said.
Since the meningitis epidemic, Warning said heâ€™s noticed positive change within the Fort Collins and surrounding community hockey leagues. A member of a league that competes at the NoCo Ice Center in Windsor, Warning said players have stopped sharing water bottles and keep their gloves on when shaking hands after a game.
Stinehour said that the event goes beyond the FCAHAâ€™s 1,200 members. It impacts all those who â€œlive here, play here and grow here.â€
Editor in Chief Madeline Novey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Face Off Against Meningitis
What: A Fort Collins Adult Hockey Association event designed to raise money to fight and awareness of meningitis, and to honor those who have succumbed to the disease
Those interested can contact FCAHA Hockey Operations Director Craig Stinehour at 970-566-3344 or email@example.com.