Oct. 24, 2013
MADISON, Wis. -- The University of Wisconsin campus may be gearing up to celebrate Halloween this weekend, but members of the UW women’s hockey team got in the Halloween spirit early when they visited the Ronald McDonald House last week to carve pumpkins with the guests of the non-profit.
Players Sarah Nurse, Sydney McKibbon, Mellissa Channell and Ilana Friedman visited the home on Oct. 15 and carved Badgers-themed pumpkins to decorate the facility.
“I had a lot of fun carving pumpkins with some of my teammates,” McKibbon said. “We attempted to carve out three pumpkins that were a spider, the Motion W, and I tried to make Bucky, but I wasn't too successful.”
McKibbon understands and respects the role that UW Athletics plays outside of campus.
“Any time we get the opportunity to give back to the community, it’s a lot of fun.” McKibbon said. “I also know how very important it is to our team.”
Ronald McDonald House director Tara Hensley expressed her gratitude for the team’s involvement in the community.
“Ronald McDonald House Charities of Madison has been grateful to have the support of the UW women’s hockey team over the years,” Hensley said. “They kick off the Halloween holiday here at the House by carving pumpkins and bringing smiles and fun to our families.”
The team has a long-standing tradition of starting the Halloween season with a visit to the Ronald McDonald House. Assistant coach Jackie Friesen recalls that women’s hockey been visiting for as long as she’s been coach and all the way back to her days as a player for the Badgers.
“I believe this tradition started back in 1999,” Friesen said. “I went all four years as a player and am just happy the tradition has continued.”
Friesen also understands how important it is to give back to the community.
“It gives our players a chance to put a smile on a young person’s face while they are staying at the Ronald McDonald House,” Friesen said. “Carving pumpkins with young kids once a year is the least we can do.
“If it puts a smile on a person’s face and has them forget about what they are going through for an hour, then it is well worth every minute spent there.”
After carving the pumpkins, the student-athletes found a new “home” for their designs on the front porch of the Ronald McDonald House.
“Hopefully they will bring some smiles to kids’ faces as they walk in,” McKibbon said.