Geisking Public Relations - Public Relations Specialist
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Vetter ready to aid SPYHA at golf outing
Sun Prairie Star
Chris Mertes - Managing Editor

The idea of working to help charities is not foreign to Jessie Vetter, the U.S. Olympic Women’s Hockey Team goalie and former Monona Grove athlete who will lend her fundraising abilities to the Sun Prairie Youth Hockey Association when it hosts its annual SPYHA golf outing on Friday, June 25 at Sun Prairie Golf Course.

Vetter, who last December conducted a benefit at Prairie Athletic Club for Sunshine Place that raised $200 in donations and more than 100 lbs. of food for the Sun Prairie Emergency Food Pantry, has played golf in several outings to benefit cancer research this year.

“We made the initial contact – we have some connections through the Prairie Athletic Club and they’ve been a big supporter of youth hockey,” remarked Sherry Herwig, who is coordinating the SPYHA Golf Outing for the association. “So we made our contacts through the athletic club and they were able to contact Jessie, who was out of state at the time, and then was able to connect with her . . . and obviously, her love of hockey and her connection with hockey, we thought it would be a natural to have someone like that come and support Sun Prairie youth hockey and our association at our golf outing.
“We were fortunate that she was available and generous enough to say yes to come out and join us,” Herwig added.

Before the June 25 golf outing, Vetter said she plans to talk with people, sign autographs at Sun Prairie Golf Course and allow people to see and touch the silver medal she earned as a member of USA Women’s Hockey Team at Vancouver during the 2010 Winter Olympics. “It’s one thing I love to bring is the medal and see the kids’ reaction . . . [they ask] ‘can I put it on?’ And I say, ‘yeah, you can put it on.’ It’s just fun – anything I can do to help hockey and grow the sport as much as I can. I know they’re still trying to get a new rink out here and hopefully they’ll get to that point.”

Being a former youth hockey player who was a frequent player in the current Sun Prairie Ice Arena, Vetter is the personification of a youth hockey player who worked hard in the sport to become an Olympic athlete.

“I probably started playing when I was 5 and now I’m 24, so it’s definitely been a long time. I grew up playing in this area so I spent a lot of time playing in the Sun Prairie rink – and all around the Madison area,” Vetter said. “So it’s a lot of work and getting to the Olympics is definitely the pinnacle of my career, but I love being able to help out with all the youth programs – whether it is with the youth camps or coming to golf events to help out.”

Her appearances on behalf of USA Hockey these days consist of a few personal appearances and some camps, Vetter said.

“They try and have us do a lot of appearances, but it’s more just people contacting me individually to do some camps around the state and some outside the state. It’s more me contacting people or people contacting me than USA Hockey. When we’re done with them in a non-Olympic year, they just kind of let us do our own thing and we just try and do as much as we can.

“I definitely enjoy going to random [hockey] functions. I went to a free hockey clinic the other night and it was really fun meeting and greeting all the kids.  I think it’s just something that every member of my team enjoys doing and we try doing as much as we can,” Vetter said.

Vetter said she tries to play as much golf as she can – with one recent example being the Andy North tournament to benefit the Carbone Cancer Center. “Since the end of the Olympics, I try to get out a couple times a week and I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to go to a lot of golf fundraisers or golf events, whether it be for the money going to breast cancer research or cancer in general . . . I try to provide my golfing ability, which is limited at times,” Vetter said a little sheepishly. “You know, golf seems to be what people come together to do to help charities.”

With family members residing in Sun Prairie and Vetter conducting her workouts at Prairie Athletic Club, she said she feels a connection to the community. “It’s definitely a rink I’ve been involved with so when they called me up [to see if she would participate in the outing], I said, ‘sure I will.’ But now that the Olympic year is slowing down, I will definitely try to get more involved with the youth programs with the state or through the Capitols, where I grew up playing, to help out.”

The golf outing is just a small part of a much bigger fundraising picture, Herwig said.

“Most of the funds we’re raising are going to the new rink, but a lot of it is to support what we’re doing right now, and that is to keep hockey affordable for anybody who wants to play,” Herwig said. “It’s an expensive sport or it can be an expensive sport – ice time and equipment and things like that. I think one of the things Sun Prairie Youth Hockey does a really great job of is providing equipment to the new skaters and the younger skaters, but you have to replace that over time – and rink expenses and things like that.”

Mike Weber, chair of the Capital Campaign Committee and a board member-elect for the SPYHA, said the association is 30 to 60 days from rolling out its campaign.

“We’re kind of in the preliminary stages of the kick-off,” Weber said of the campaign called “More Than Just The Ice.”

The goal of the campaign, Weber said, is to raise enough money to begin construction of the new Sun Prairie Ice Arena by next spring to complete it before next fall so it can be used for hockey.

Prize, registration information

Herwig said the outing has received some fantastic prizes for auctions and raffles, including two Odyssey putters, a steak and wine package, a gift certificate for Madison Custom Flooring, an overnight stay at the Chula Vista, tickets to the Madison Mallards, and fitness packages from Edge Fitness and Athletic Revolution among them.

SPYHA is still seeking hole sponsors and prize donations for the event. 

Hole-in-one prizes include $10,000 cash on one hole and a one-year family membership to Prairie Athletic Club on another hole.

“We’re also doing a food drive [for the Sun Prairie Emergency Food Pantry] so if anyone brings a non-perishable food item to the outing and turns that in, they get entered into a drawing for four tickets to a Milwaukee Admirals game and a ride on a Zamboni during that game,” Herwig said. “We’re always looking for ways to stay connected to the community because I know the community supports us so much in everything we do . . . and there’s so many people who help us out that way that it’s just a small thing we can do. Any time you can give back I think that’s a really good way for the community to know we appreciate their support as well.”

Prizes will be awarded for both men and women participating in the 18-hole scramble format outing at Sun Prairie Golf Course.

In addition to hole prizes, the outing will offer a chance to get in the Cash Booth to grab as much cash as possible and great food from MyMenu.

The outing will conclude with a pig roast dinner. Non-golfers are invited to join outing participants for the pig roast which will begin at approximately 5:30 p.m.

Individuals who are interested in participating should contact Herwig as soon as possible to get included in the food count. “Even if they can let us know in advance they’re going to be there on that day with a foursome or a twosome – we’d prefer payment in advance, but advanced notice is preferred.”

Registration begins at 10:30 a.m., with the Vetter meet-and greet.

She said the most common item people have her sign are small goalie hockey sticks or jerseys, although some kids have brought posters and other hockey memorabilia for her to autograph as well.

Lunch follows at 11 a.m., followed at noon by a shotgun start. Golf costs $90 per person (singles and twosomes can be paired by SPYHA) or $360 per foursome and includes golf, lunch and dinner, prizes and more. Dinner costs $20 per person.

Log on to the website http://spyha.pucksystems.com to download a form to register for golf or the pig roast.

If you are interested in supporting the outing as a sponsor, have a donation or want to register for golf or dinner, contact Sherry Herwig at (608) 279-1982.

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