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January 26, 2007     Cape Gazette
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January 26, 2007

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CAPE GAZETTE - Friday, January 26 - Monday, January 29, 2007 - 115 Dan Cook photos A lot of love filled the Cape Henlopen High School gymnasium on Sunday, Jan. 21, as former teammates, coaches, friends, hockey referees and concerned fans joined in to raise money to help defray cost of medical expenses of Amanda Haxton, former all-star field hockey player for the Vikings who was injured in a tragic accident. At left, Amanda Haxton (seated) poses with her former teammates (standing,.l.r) Danielle Renken, Jaekie Warren and Sam Coveleski, and (kneeling) Lisa Williams and Laura McIlvain. Hockey for Haxton lets her know she's not alone If there is something to be said for the impact of team sports and the power of the community, it was shouted in chorus Sunday Jan. 21, at the Hockey for Haxton indoor field hockey play day fundraiser. Eighteen teams of field hockey players came together last weekend to participate in an all-day event to raise money and support for Cape alumnus, star athlete and my per- sonal friend and teammate, Amanda Haxton, who was paralyzed in a car acci- dent late last September. "When you hear about something like this, especially when it happens to one of your best friends, you just want to do some- thing," said Danielle Renken, co-coordina- tor of Hockey for Haxton. "So I thought maybe we should do a hockey tournament to raise money since that's what we all love." Beginning shortly after Haxton's acci- dent, Renken, a teammate and friend of Haxton, and Haxton's and former coaches began working on the event designed to enlist the help of the community in paying Haxton's mounting medical bills. While monetary donations were more than wel- come, the day served to show Haxton that she was a part of a family when she excelled in softball and field hockey in high school, and that she still is a beloved mem- ber of the Cape Henlopen community. Danielle and I both played with Amanda Haxton all four years at Cape along with Laura Mcllvain, Jacki Warren and Lisa Williams. We were always close, but Amanda's accident brought us even closer together and made us realize just how much of a team we always will be. Yvonne White and several other DSFHA parents ran a concession stand featuring Surf Bagel Deli bagels and donated food and drink. Another table loaded with raffle items and ribbons stood opposite the food. A speaker system played music as mix- matched teams of all varieties engaged in energetic but ligh-hearted competition. Teams from all over cameto play and each brought a unique energy to the gym that day. Some teams were rag-fag arrange- ments of Haxton's friends and friends of her friends. Amanda's older brother, Clint Haxton, decked out in his sister's hot pink Cape hockey shirt, played on the Sandy Crabs while older Cape alumni joined in the fun along with current Cape students. Locals like the entire Smith family r Kim, Christy, Cody andKelly Smith - took to the court. Cape football player Max Coveleski may have found a new talent for goalkeep- ing having tended the cage.for a total of 13 games. "We want to have a T-shirt contest next year," said Renken. "I can't believe how many people are here. It's awesome that everybody got so into it." Also participating were official U 14, U 16 and U19 Delaware Shore Field Hockey teams and collegiate players traveling from East Stroudsburg and Villanova Universities in Pennsylvania. Representatives from Laurel, Lake Forest, Sussex Central, Dover and Caesar Rodney areas were present to play and watch as well. Haxton said that when she arrived at the gym, "I cried like a baby. I just appreciate all this that Danielle and everybody did for me. We always said we were family in Cape hockey and now I really, realize the extent of that. I'm just really thankful." All day long, the gym was buzzing with people coming to see Haxton and join in on the fun. About 1 pm, all 144 participants gathered on the gym floor for a group shot with Amanda. Louis Armstrong's "What a wonderful world" just happened to play on the sound system and a dry eye was not to be found. As I stood in that gym crowded with so many different people, I realized that there is something special about this. I realized now that gathered in this gym is a new team bigger than Cape Hockey. A team of differ- ent ages and experiences but all in it for one person: Hax. It's a new team, but the same philosophy. You're never alone. You play together and you win together. So let's go, Hax. Several local umpires donated their time to officiate. Thank you to Chris Minner for managing the umpire schedule and to the umpires: J.D. Dennis, Jen Eckman, Julie Hudechek, Lee Middleton, Betty Miller, Buster Neeman, Nancy Neeman, Lisa Wilkins and Ryan Wilkins. Several local businesses and community members donated money to help make this event possible and financial support for Amanda Haxton available. Sponsors include: Delaware Shore Field Hockey, Inc., Dr. Peter Coveleski, Atlantic Millwork, S. E. Millman Masonry, Delaware Diamonds Hockey Club, Joy Hearn, Quest, Delaware Eye, 2004 Concord Field Hockey Team, Surf Bagel, Bethany Beach Printing, Kids Ketch, Sposato Irrigation, the Parker Family, Sue Lore, Terry Croll, The Bailey Family, The Shockley Family, Bill Vernon, and The Woodruff Family. More thanks are due to Joe D'Amico, Kris and Sophie DeMesse, Kathy Pepper, Judy Renken, Ruth Skoglund and all the DSFHA parents who donated food and drinks. To become a sponsor for next year's Hockey for Haxton or to make a donation to the Haxton family, checks made out to DSFHA Inc. are welcome to be sent to: P.O. Box 23, Lewes, DE 19958. At left, DanieHe Renken of Delaware Shore Field Hockey, Inc. presents a check, for an amount in excess of $5,000, to Amanda Haxton. Above, Sussex Central goalie Amanda Cor. drey blocks a shot as LID's Ashley O'Neal and Clint Haxton look on.