Amity hockey coach Gary Lindgren believes there’s nothing like traveling as a team to keep energy and spirits high; and throughout his nearly two decades as the team’s leader, trips out of state have been an annual event.
And this year, which is Lindgren’s last, he’s planning the best trip of all – a journey to Germany and Austria in December to play in exhibition games and tour the countries. It was the last goal the coach hoped to realize since rejoining the coaching staff in 1999 after his two year stint in 1993-95. “We’ve conquered every goal and more,” Lindgren said, pointing to the team’s stats as one of the strongest in its Division II ranking; winning state championships in 2008 and 2010; team donations to charities and building successful annual events like its golf tournament fundraiser and annual alumni game.
About 80 people, including 25 players, some family members and the team’s coaching staff plan to go on the week-long excursion. The last time the Amity hockey team took a trip out of the country was in 1977 when it played exhibition games in Sweden and Finland.
“We’re looking to capture the experience of a lifetime. It’s such an exciting event,” Lindgren said. In addition to playing hockey games, the trip also includes tours of the former concentration camp, Dachau; BMW headquarters; Neuschwanstein Castle and a walking tour of the City of Mozart in Austria. The week will culminate with a fireworks display on New Year’s Eve in Munich.
Co-captains Mac Deane and Nick DeGennaro said the team is already bonding in anticipation of the trip as they work together to meet their lofty fundraising goal of $80,000. “Everyone’s really excited, most have not left the country before,” DeGennaro said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun.” The team has been holding a variety of fundraising events from hosting a hypnotist and magician at the high school to car washes, tag sales and dinners. They even raised corporate sponsorships from area businesses including Subway and Hoffman Press. “The parents have been working really hard too to help us out with these fundraisers,” Deane added. The team will only have played two games in the season before they leave on the trip.
For Lindgren, who will be leaving his team in good stead at the end of the season, the trip will be among his last adventures with his team. “It’s been an awesome experience and I’ve been really blessed along the way,” he said. “I’m extremely grateful to the parents and the school for being very supportive of the team and this trip. I feel strong about turning it over to the next person.”
ANNUAL ALUMNI GAME: 6 p.m. Friday, December 23 at the Bennet Rink in West Haven. Any former Amity High Hockey team players are welcome. Show up in equipment. $20 donation.
MATTRESS FUNDRAISER: 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday, November 19 at Amity Senior High. Brand new, top-of-the-line Beautyrest mattresses will be on for sale for up to 50% off retail prices.
By Laura Fantarella – Orange Town News Correspondent