Ukraine fundraiser in Norwich to feature hockey game and figure skating

NORWICH – While the Russian invasion of Ukraine has been going on for more than two months, many people around the world have tried to help the Ukrainian people in one way or another.

Here in Norwich there will be a hockey game.

On Saturday, May 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the RoseGarden Ice Arena, there will be a hockey game to raise money for Hope for Ukraine, a charity that helps Ukrainians by supporting troops, families and others. Event organizer Jonathan Dentch, who also runs the Arena’s Men’s Over-40 Hockey League, said the suggested donation is $10 per person at the door, though he won’t. refuse anyone.

“We have a lot of fun playing hockey, just a lot of goodwill,” Dentch said. “I thought we’d like to share this with the rest of the community by hosting a hockey game and inviting them to come.

Ashford resident Viacheslav Serheiev, one of the men’s league players, is from Ukraine. Serheiev said his relatives, who live in central Ukraine, had to hide several times in their basements to protect themselves from missile attacks.

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“People for two or three weeks suffered from everything,” Serheiev said.

However, Serheiev said the situation was improving with support from the Americans and other countries, and he said even his Ukrainian friends were seeing the impact of the donations.

Viacheslav Serheiev of Ashford, and formerly of Ukraine, second from left, and organizer Jonathan Dentch of Groton, second from right, with Ukrainian and American flags before practice Friday for the Hope for Ice Hockey fundraiser Ukraine this Saturday for the benefit of the Ukrainian people.  It will take place at the RoseGarden Ice Arena in Norwich at 7.30pm.

“I can’t find the right words to describe how I feel,” Serheiev said. “Everyone I’ve spoken to about this situation has been kind and supportive.”

The event itself involves splitting the men’s league into two and playing them against each other, as the group does in their regular meetings. There will also be figure skating during the intermission.

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“I think people will be entertained by our high level of play and sportsmanship,” Dentch said. “We encourage each other every time we score a goal.”

Viacheslav Serheiev of Ashford, and formerly of Ukraine, right, and organizer Jonathan Dentch of Groton, near a Ukrainian flag before practice Friday for this Saturday's Hope for Ukraine ice hockey fundraiser at the benefit of the Ukrainian people.  It will take place at the RoseGarden Ice Arena in Norwich at 7.30am.

Dentch is hoping for 50-100 attendees and said he’s aiming to raise $2,000. Serheiev said that may seem like a small amount of money, but it will go a long way in Ukraine, as he said the average monthly salary before the conflict was $300-$400 per month.

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“It’s a big difference,” Serheiev said.

Dentch said he hoped to inspire more people locally and across the country to support Ukrainians in times of need by raising funds and “to raise awareness of the suffering.”

Catherine J. Martinez