Braedon Hyland Hockey Foundation raising money for young playersStarted by the family of late East Ridge student-athlete Braedon Hyland, the Braedon Hyland Hockey Foundation is raising money to provide scholarships for young hockey players who are struggling to afford the sport they love to play.
By: Patrick Johnson, Sports Editor, Woodbury Bulletin
Blake Schlosser plays youth hockey in South St. Paul. Because of goodwill borne out of a tragedy, he can continue to do so.
Started by the family of late East Ridge student-athlete Braedon Hyland, the Braedon Hyland Hockey Foundation is raising money to provide scholarships for young hockey players, like Blake, who are struggling to afford the sport they love to play.
Bill Hyland, Braedon’s father, said his son was “a special kid that could pretty much do whatever he wanted” and that he was always willing try new things and wasn’t afraid to fail.
“We use his strength every day,” Bill Hyland said. “It’s hard for us, but he gives us the strength and when people here his story it’s pretty special. Even though Braedon was a big athlete he wasn’t afraid to make friends with anyone. His group of buddies is across the board. What we’re doing with the foundation is just a spin-off of Braedon, his personality and what he did with his time here.”
Hyland, an East Ridge senior, died Oct. 14, 2011, from injuries sustained in an Afton automobile crash. In his time at East Ridge, Hyland played soccer, football and track and field, but hockey was the sport he loved most. As a junior in the 2010-11 season, Hyland played in 25 games, logging nine points as a key defenseman. This past season, in a very rare occurrence at the high school level, Hyland’s No. 23 was retired by the East Ridge hockey team.
Hyland’s older brother Walker, a standout player at Woodbury High School, still plays hockey and next year will take the ice for Michigan Tech.
“With everything that’s happened going through this tragedy, I don’t know how we would have gotten through it without the community of Woodbury and the hockey family,” Bill Hyland said. “It’s where we’re meant to be.”
For many families, however, the costs associated with being part of the hockey community is impossible. The Braedon Hyland Hockey Foundation’s mission is to make the game of hockey possible for all children under the age of 18 regardless of their financial situation.
According to the foundation, the average family of a hockey player spends roughly $1,000 per child per year. Costs associated with playing hockey include expensive equipment players must wear to be safe on the ice.
Hockey luminaries like Lou Nanne, and Herb Brooks’ daughter Kelly Brooks from the Herb Brooks Foundation along with a number of others have reached out to the Hylands offering their help.
“It’s terrific,” Bill Hyland said. “It’s a lot of work, but the meaning behind it is incredible. We’re hoping to grow this thing to a big level where we’re helping kids across the country.”
The Braedon Hyland Hockey Foundation is raising money for kids through donations. The family also is selling Hyland’s No. 23 T-shirts and began a clothing line called sicbuddy – a phrase Braedon often used when things were looking good – with all proceeds going to the foundation.
“I was concerned how we were going to keep a foundation going. I just didn’t want to go around asking people for money,” Bill Hyland said. “Braedon had a saying, instead of ‘cool’ he’d say ‘sickbuddy.’After the accident, every Friday night for about a month and a half we had 15 to 20 kids at our house looking at ideas for the clothing line of sicbuddy. It’s helped them, it’s helped us. It’s just a thing that’s meant to be.”
In addition, the first-annual Braedon Hyland Memorial Golf Tournament will be held on June 18 at StoneRidge Golf Club in Stillwater.
Woodbury 2010 graduate Chelsey Larson, who is good friends with Walker Hyland and who works at StoneRidge, is helping set up the event.
Larson said she hopes the tournament will not only be a fundraiser for the foundation, but a place friends and family of Braedon can come celebrate his life.
“We really want it to raise a lot of money for the foundation, but also just have it be a fun day to remember Braedon,” Larson said. “It’s a memorial and a benefit for the foundation.”
For those not interested in golfing, the foundation is holding a program at the end of the evening, which will be emceed by Fox 9’s Randy Meier and will include a silent auction and dinner.
“We just want it to be a big event for everyone to be able to come and celebrate Braedon,” Larson said. “We want to make it not just a golf tournament, but for everyone. Braedon knew a lot of people and he had a lot of friends. It’s going to be a fun program.”
The Braedon Hyland Memorial Golf Tournament
June 18, 2012 at StoneRidge Golf Club in Stillwater
-Check in 11:30 a.m., 1 p.m. shotgun start
-5:30 p.m. to 6:45 p.m. – Silent Auction and Social
-Dinner and program to follow, emceed by Fox 9’s Randy Meier
-Hole sponsors and silent auction donations still needed
-For more information visit: www.braedon23.com; www.sicbuddy.com; or contact Chelsey Larson at firstname.lastname@example.org.