Benton Bay Lions join fundraising efforts to save UAA gymnastics and hockey

Published: Nov. 5, 2020 at 8:56 PM AKST
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - The Anchorage Benton Bay Athletic Lions Club is joining the fundraising effort to save the University of Alaska Anchorage hockey and gymnastic programs from elimination by organizing two 50/50 split the pot raffles for each team.

Tickets can be purchased online for $10 a ticket, $50 for six tickets and $100 for 13 tickets. The hockey raffle hopes to raise a total of $100,000, and the gymnastics raffle hopes to raise a total of $20,000. The online sale of raffle tickets ends on Nov. 15 with in-person ticket sales available until Dec. 13 for gymnastics and Jan. 23, 2021 for hockey.

Both teams are in a fundraising frenzy to secure two years' worth of funding by Feb. 15 to be considered for reinstatement after UAA Chancellor Cathy Sandeen announced the elimination of the university’s skiing, hockey and gymnastics programs to save $2.5 million. In September, the University of Alaska Board of Regents approved the elimination but said the teams could be reinstated if they raise two years' worth of expenses. This leaves the hockey team to raise $3 million and gymnastics $888,000.

“The biggest thing for us is we are really trying to take the fear out of it,” said UAA interim gymnastics head coach Marie-Sophie Boggasch. “It’s really important that everybody knows even the smallest donation does make a difference.”

The Save Seawolf Hockey website has raised $230,000 so far, and will likely raise $500,000 by the end of November thanks to the Eugene Giza Fund, which matched all donations made up to $250,000. The Save UAA Gymnastics GoFundMe account organized by the Collegiate Gymnastics Growth Initiative has raised $6,119, but Boggasch said they’ve raised closer to $100,000 so far with many donations going directly to UAA. Boggasch said their goal is to raise $150,000 by the end of November.

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