If you thought the UNM Lobo hockey club was teaming together with the Albuquerque Police and Fire Departments — you weren't alone.
Several Facebook comments seemed to indicate fans were under the same impression, but that apparently wasn't the case.
UNM head hockey coach Grant Harvey said he and his team were not asked to participate, but said he wished the organizers well in their effort to raise funds.
"I hope it was a fruitful endeavor and raised a lot of money for a good cause," Harvey said.
According to a press release, the charity game was organized through the Law Enforcement Torch run community policing program to help support Special Olympics New Mexico.
“We won’t just be watching a local charity hockey game, but be part of a collective experience that ensures the joy of sport to over 3,500 Special Olympics athletes and their families,” LETR operations director Oscar Solis said in the release.
Although UNM hockey was not involved in the game, one Lobo player, James Bostian, did manage to make it out onto the ice.
Bostian plays goalie for the UNM Lobos, but has also been a firefighter for the state forestry of New Mexico and holds an intermediate EMT license. So it seemed fitting that he would help protect the net for the first responders.
The goalie explained the the New Mexico All-Stars were not comprised of UNM Lobo hockey players and alumni, rather they were members from the adult league over at Outpost Ice Arena.
He said originally he thought the Lobos were supposed to play in the charity game as well, but wasn't sure if things changed along the way or if something fell through. He said to his knowledge he was the only ex-Lobo on either squad Sunday afternoon.
Bostian said he would have loved to get the Lobo hockey team involved and thinks it would be a real fun event, adding it has been a few weeks since the team has been on the ice together and they would welcome the idea.
Players pay a fee to compete in the game, tickets were $10 for adults and $5 for youths to attend the event and there were several prizes raffled off to held raise funds for the Special Olympics, which Bostian said he understood goes for participants to compete locally and beyond if they are able to qualify and advance.
He said he wasn't sure about numbers regarding attendance or how much money was raised from the charity game and raffles, but it appeared to him to be a success.
"The parking lot was packed when I pulled up," he said. "It looked like a Lobo game. It was definitely a good turnout."
He said several former New Mexico Scorpion players, including Brian Barnes, competed in the game and was fortunate enough to be on the winning side of an 11-3 affair that went in favor of the Albuquerque Public Safety/First Responder's Team.
"I split it and got the second half of the game. "I let in one goal today."
Although the UNM hockey club wasn't a part of this activity, Harvey said his team will be continuing to volunteer the UNM Children's Hospital and resume its partnership with the Wildlife Refuge of New Mexico soon.
That seemed to be something Bostian was looking forward to.
Bostian and his significant other recently became parents, welcoming a baby girl into the world. He said charitable endeavors such as Sunday's and the upcoming work he and the team plan to do at the UNM Children's Hospital hold even more significance now. He said he got to see the impact health care professionals can have first hand after his daughter spent a week in the newborn intensive care unit after her birth.
He said he isn't sure how much time, if any, he will be able to dedicate to the team next season. He said he is hopeful he can return, but his primary focus is on the health of his daughter and supporting her. Either way, Bostian said he will dedicate time to the many philanthropic activities UNM hockey engages in — particularly the children's hospital.
Bostian said it is always really fun to go there and call out bingo games and interact with the kids there. In the past, the team has brought Lobo hockey gear and signed pucks to give away and hopefully put a smile on some faces.
Robert Maler is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers basketball and baseball and contributes content for various other sports as well. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @Robert_Maler.