Bethlehem hockey team raises money for season

Ordinarily, Kevin Sheridan would have spent his Saturday morning sleeping in.

Sheridan didn't have that luxury last Saturday. He had to help his Bethlehem hockey teammates raise money so they could pay for their 2009-10 ice time.

It's for the good of the team, said Sheridan. "I could think of better things to do but it's for the team."

Sheridan and several more Bethlehem hockey players spent several hours washing cars in the Hewitt's Garden Center parking lot in an attempt to offset the $21,000 cost to rent the ice rink at the Bethlehem Area YMCA. The car wash raised $1,300 toward that goal.

The car wash " along with a golf tournament held earlier this month " are part of a season-long effort to raise the money that the team needs for ice time.

"We're chipping away at it," said Bethlehem Varsity Hockey Booster Club president Mike Cooper. "We've also got a raffle, we've got concession stand sales [at home hockey games] and the school district is letting us keep the gate receipts."

The Bethlehem Central School District used to pay for the ice time, but it had to drop that portion of its funding for the team in this year's school budget.

"I went to all the budget meetings, and I said that they should look to make cuts across the board," said Cooper. "Ultimately, the decision was to take the three sports that had outside rental expenses " hockey, cheerleading and gymnastics " and cut some of the funding for each."

It's not the first time hockey, cheerleading and gymnastics lost full funding from the school district. Several years ago, the district had to cut all funding to the three programs when its budget was defeated at the polls.

"We had to raise the whole nut " $35,000," said Cooper. "So, $21,000 doesn't seem all that daunting."

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