Volunteers the engine that runs Arizona Hockey Union
As with most youth hockey organizations, the Arizona Hockey Union (AHU) relies upon their large group of team volunteers to keep things running smoothly.
Their volunteers share not only a passion for the game of hockey but also a love for generously helping others. Most of the volunteer staff works behind the scenes and are often not recognized. However, they are absolutely essential to the success of the AHU. Coaches and team managers are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the number of volunteers necessary to keep the organization thriving.
“The reason that I choose to get involved is for my child,” said Keri Poulios. “His passion is hockey, so I want to help out and be involved with him and for him. I love being involved and getting to know all of the players.”
What often goes unrecognized are the dozens of volunteers managing the ice time for all of the AHU teams, the team budgets, website updates, schedule updates and social media channels, just to name a few. The AHU also has volunteers managing equipment manufacturers and vendors to ensure the highest quality and safest equipment is available to their players, and the list goes on and on. Those are the dedicated day-to-day volunteers and their tireless efforts are the engine that keeps the club running.
The Union’s Tournament Committee is their largest volunteer group and they volunteer hundreds of hours coordinating each tournament, working with local and national partners, coordinating with local hotels and neighboring rinks. They are also dedicated to working with each participating team to ensure they have a great experience while attending events that the AHU hosts. All of this leads up to the weekend of the event, during which dozens of volunteers put in long days and sometimes over a combined 1,000 volunteer hours to ensure success. It all pays off when the players, parents, and coaches are having a great time and everything runs smoothly.
Some people may think, “Why volunteer? It sure seems like a lot of work?”
Well, volunteering is a great way to get more involved with each family’s children, team, club, and community. It’s clear that hockey is a game and it is meant to be fun, and volunteers have a lot of fun, too. It may be during an evening of equipment sorting or a fundraiser at the local pizzeria, but the AHU volunteers are always laughing and smiling because they love helping, seeing others happy, and having fun. It is also a great way to meet other parents and hockey enthusiasts in your community and not to mention, you’ll probably learn a lot.
As a volunteer, you get to sort of peek behind the curtain and learn a bit more about what makes everything tick, what’s on the horizon and why things are the way they are.
“I enjoy being able to be involved with the team every day,” explained Amber Sliwinski. “It provides me the opportunity to learn about Arizona Hockey Union and hockey. I love that AHU is a nonprofit organization. I know that the money I put into the organization goes to better the team and the kids.”
That said, are you ready to start volunteering? Clubs are always looking for volunteers and although you may not have the time to join committees, but even if you can spare a few hours occasionally, your local club would love your help. If you are interested in getting more involved just ask around, it won’t take long to find a volunteer and ask, “How can I help”? and then start having fun.
The AHU is truly grateful for all of the time their great volunteers spend, often times late at night and on the weekends behind the scenes keeping everything running smoothly.
— Jason Prentice