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A win for heart research

The tournament's four teams raised $3,150 for the Rasmussen Center. (Photo: Alena Demidova)

Hockey tournament benefits cardiovascular disease prevention at the U

Steve Bertossi and Larry Curtis are captains of different teams in their adult recreational hockey league, but last spring they joined up for a common cause.

Bertossi and Curtis didn’t know each other well at the time. They had corresponded by e-mail to arrange scrimmages between their teams and had talked a few times in person. On one of those days, they got to talking about organizing a tournament.

“Larry said he has always wanted to do [a tournament] for charity,” says Bertossi, who was immediately on board with Curtis’s plan.

So they started arranging a four-team tournament that would draw a total of 60 players to Ridder Arena, the home of the University of Minnesota women’s hockey team. Each team would play four games over a two-day contest before one would be declared the winner.

Choosing a cause to benefit was easy.

“Heart disease has been in my family for generations,” Curtis says. “I lost my father to it, and I lost my grandfather to it.”

Because hockey is such a physical sport, it was a cause Curtis and Bertossi thought other players would rally behind. And with the tournament being held at Ridder Arena, Bertossi says it just made sense to give the proceeds to the University.

That’s how they found the University’s Rasmussen Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, a clinic and research body with a unique approach to anticipating and managing diseases of the heart and blood vessels.

“The more you can prevent, the better off you are,” says Bertossi.

Each team paid a tournament entry fee, and individual players were asked to solicit donations. To maximize the amount that they’d raise, Curtis and Bertossi decided not to buy anything for the event— they asked for corporate sponsorships instead.

In its inaugural year, the Hockey for the Heart tournament raised $3,150 for the Rasmussen Center, surpassing its $2,500 goal.

Now that they’ve done it once, Bertossi and Curtis plan to grow the tournament and hope to raise even more money for heart disease prevention efforts at the University.

“It turned out really great,” Curtis says. “We both want to see it grow.”

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