I love that in the middle of the desert, in an area with a relatively small population, the Desert Bash has amazing participation. Everyone has a great time, even if it's a bazillion degrees outside.
According to the paper, the tournament (and it's corporate sponsors) and the auction raised $200,000 for the Carson Kolzig Foundation. The CKF's mission (and what the money goes for):
Enhance Autism Treatment Resources in the Tri CitiesKolzig is also a part of the larger organization, Athletes Against Austism, which is connected with Autism Speaks and was founded by Kolzig and fellow NHL-ers Byron Dafoe, and Scott Mellanby, because they are all parents of children with autism. Autism now affects 1-in-150 births, which is just a staggering number and there's no real explanation or solution. It's efforts like Kolzig's Foundation and AAA that are dedicated to helping to provide support, help, and money for research.
Educate and Equip the Community About Autism
- Underwrite costs of services/treatment for kids and families affected by autism.
- Sponsor seminars or training that benefit kids and families affected by autism.
- Provide capital resources to help bring an autism treatment resource to the Tri Cities.
- Provide program funds necessary to improve the quality of treatment for children with autism
Empower Families Challenged by Autism
- Sponsor seminars or training that benefit educators affected by autism.
- Provide education and support forum to the Tri Cities community through an annual autism conference.
- Provide the "Kolzig Connection", a foundation newsletter.
- Host the Carson Kolzig Foundation website with resources and support networks
- Outreach gesture for families who receive new diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder.
- Provide annual outings that allow autistic kids and families to have a day of fun in a safe and appropriate setting.
I can't even put into words how honored I am to be a part of this huge fundraiser every year. Yes, I get to enjoy taking pictures of hot hockey players, but it's a cause I believe strongly in and I'm delighted to do what I can to help.
That being said, here's some pictures from the tournament, I gave you some individual shots of current and former Americans players, then group shots of all the players who competed. If anyone notices that there's a wrong name or anything, please let me know so I can rectify it. I'm going off my master list, but I think there were a few last-minute changes that I didn't get written down.