SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – On March 12, the AHL suspended all play across the league. While the hockey games in Syracuse have stopped, the Crunch is making an impact off the ice.
“We made the decision that once we knew this would be a prolonged absence that we had to be active,” said Howard Dolgon, Syracuse Crunch owner.
What started as a simple text from upstate CEO Robert Corona to the Crunch owner about hockey sanitation equipment turned into so much more.
“I made a couple of phone calls and by noon the next day the machines were on a truck on its way to the hospital,” said Dolgon.
The Crunch and Upstate University Hospital have a great relationship of course, the arena where Syracuse plays was renamed Upstate Medical University Arena at Onondaga County War Memorial this past December. The two coming together is no shock. But this instance was different.
The Crunch loaned their Sani Sport sanitation machines to Upstate on April 3rd. After several tests, Upstate CEO Dr. Robert Corona knew how to use the equipment most efficiently.
“We didn’t feel there was adequate data to support using it on masks because of the fabric and the penetration of the virus into the fabric but we do feel there is adequate date to support using it on things that are harder surfaced so that is why we decided to use it on the face shields only,” said Dr. Corona.
The use is a big help for equipment in such high demand.
“Anything helps. We’re constantly looking for protective equipment. We’ve had to modify our typical protocols to reuse PPE when we would normally just dispose of it after one use. And now we’re having to reuse a lot of it. So the more we can get, the more we can protect our frontline providers,” said Dr. Corona.
Dolgon hopes that Upstate’s original idea starts a trend.
“We’re hoping now that any team in any sport, whether its football, basketball, hockey baseball, colleges. That have these machines that now we know can be effective. Loan them to the hospitals in their community,” said Dolgon.
The Crunch have not stopped there. Through their Fuel the Force Initiative, the Crunch will donate meals from Tully’s and Coppertop Tavern to Upstate employees next week.
“It took two phone calls, one to Tully’s and one to Copper Top and they’re answer was ‘yes we want to help out’,” said Dolgon.
On Friday April 17th, the Crunch will team up with the American Red Cross and other New York AHL teams to hold a blood drive to help more in need.
“I’ve said this from 1994, we have platform in the community. And the platform is not just playing hockey its being a voice to not only be heard but to do good,” said Dolgon.
The Utica Comets, Rochester Americans and Binghamton Devils are also participating in the blood drive in their respective cities. For the Crunch, it will be inside the War Memorial and all who come to donate or volunteer will adhere to the CDC social distance guidelines.
For information on how to set up an appointment or questions about the drive, click here.