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Colorado Dawg Nation

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The Westy wouldn't happen without them!

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Why is this the best BLT in the world?

In 2003, a small group of men from all walks of life got together to try their hand at adult recreation league hockey. We formed a team called the Dawgs, and set ourselves up at the Edge Ice Arena in Littleton, Colorado. This was not a particularly good team, but win or lose, we’d enthusiastically show up every week, play some hockey, share stories, and as time went on, became a small family.

There have been many happy events, such as parties, weddings and births, which have brought us together. Unfortunately, there have been far too many tragedies that have tested the character of our group.  During the past several years, our team has had several bouts with cancer, and a hockey accident that nearly resulted in the amputation of a player’s leg.  We even lost one of our family to a devastating disease in 2010.

Whenever something bad happens, that player and his family can always count on their Dawg Nation teammates to rally behind them with a visit, an email, a gift card, or needed financial help.  All a Dawg has to do is look over his shoulder, and he’ll see his other family standing right there with him.

Why we deserve to win the Westy?

In January of 2011, we made the life changing decision to spread the “Dawg” love outside of our team’s inner circle and throughout the entire Rocky Mountain Hockey community.  That decision created “Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation”, a 501c3 nonprofit developed for the sole reason of aiding folks in the adult hockey community in times of need.  What started as an idea to honor a fallen friend and “make a difference” has blossomed into an important resource for families in need.  Since inception, our foundation has generated over $1,200,000, and more importantly aided over 60 families in need. For the weekend warrior recovering from a nasty injury or serious illness, Dawg Nation has provided resources and amazing acts of kindness that have not only changed the lives of our recipients, but also our players and volunteers. It has been an amazing journey so far, and absolutely could not have occurred without the countless volunteer hours of many, and the incredible generosity of many more. Please take a few minutes to check out our webpage (dawgnation.org), especially the “Giving Back” tab.

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37 Comments

  1. Gordon

    Happy to help with a vote, good luck your bond is inspiring

    1. kevin

      Last year my 18 daughter suffered a horrific accident and was left with a brain and spinal cord injury. Dawg nation raised over $10,000 to help us with the costs of adapting our home/life to her new wheel-chair bound needs. Can’t say enough about the tremendous work their foundation does.

  2. Susan Wherler

    My cousin, Kathy, was Jack Kelly’s wife so I have heard and read of all the wonderful things about Dawg Nation. Thank you all for being there for my extended family!!

  3. JoAnn

    Best wishes with your campaign! This sounds like an awesome club!

  4. Joe

    When Sean Zimmerman ask for help you do what the captain of the eagles says. Always glad to help a good cause. Keep it up Dawgs

  5. Cap

    Here’s just one of the many, many things Dawg Nation does. To date over sixty hockey families have been aiding by the group:

    http://denver.cbslocal.com/2016/10/08/firefighter-who-lost-home-dog-in-wildfire-gets-new-start/

  6. Cindy Richardson

    So many wonderful giving stories, with over 60 recipients! Good luck Dawgs

  7. Danny Packard

    I was a recipient and they money really helped a lot for me and my family. But what was the most important to me and my family was the support. You have no idea how much it can effect how you feel to have 20 hockey guys show up in a hospital recovery room to route you on. All the doctors and nurse where blown away and everyone was smiling. Cant say thank you enough to DAWG NATIAON !!

  8. Michael Sullivan

    These guys don’t just raise money to help hockey players who suffer injuries or catastrophic illness, they give their sweat. When a hockey player became a quadriplegic, they organized a group to build ramps and remodel to make his home handicap accessible.

  9. John May

    Dawg Nation is the most incredible organization that was born out of the spirit of helping those in the hockey community. It has united the people who are involved with hockey across the state of Colorado unlike anything before. There has been a brotherhood created knowing that we are all involved in supporting a great cause. I have seen numerous lives changed as part of the process. It is great to see an organization that lives by the credo of simply helping others with 100% of donations going to help our community.

  10. Irene Stiopkin Bouck

    Dawg Nation has done multiple amazing things in the community! I was hospitalized in June with diverticulitis and polycystic kidney disease and have since struggled with catching up financially. When Dawg Nation heard about my story through a friend, they presented me with a check for $2500! I am beyond greatful for their kindness and everything they do for our community!

  11. Shawn Leonard

    Dawg Nation and this incredible “Hockey Family” pitched in after I had a Quadruple Bypass surgery. They LITERALLY saved me from going bankrupt! I am self employed and it took quite a while for me to get back to work. The money I received paid my mortgage for several months and let me focus on getting healthy rather than losing my home. The Organization is a Blessing! The Hockey World has always been a source of fun and friendship for me…The Dawgs have taken that to a higher level than I could imagine. I thank God every day for them entering my life!!! Cheers Dawgs…You have Rocked My World!!

  12. Angie Petersen

    Dawg Nation is UNDOUBTEDLY the best BLT in the world! Not only is this a fantastic group of hockey players, they are also giving of themselves to bless others in the hockey community who are having a hard time! When my husband was diagnosed with terminal cancer, Dawg came through with a massive fundraiser to help us with our medical bills. The love and support was overwhelming in the worst of times! WE <3 DAWG!!

  13. Evan

    Please vote for the Dawgs!! This is an amazing organization with wonderful people involved. I was blessed to be part of the Dawgs charity as a recipient and have known these guys for a long time. Please take the time to vote it’s worth it!

  14. Torin Perret

    While Dawg Nation is undoubtably the best beer league team in the the world, they are more than just a hockey team. Last December I was diagnosed with a rare form of innoperable brain cancer at the age of 20. Within one month of my diagnosis, Dawg Nation was in contact with me on the topic of helping me out. Every year they host a tournament, with the biggest game being the survivors game, a game played by players who are overcoming or have overcome severe illness or injury. During the intermission of this game I was surprised by the gift of $30,000 to help myself and my family with all the expenses that come along with a cancer diagnosis. I have never met such a passionate and genuinely caring group of men. Dawg Nation is more than a hockey team to me, as well as many others. My family is forever thankful for all this group has done for us.

  15. Amy

    Three years ago, my husband was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia. Dawg Nation heard of our story and jumped into action to help support our young family with two very young children. They helped raise money for medical bills and even made a house visit when the cancer returned. They were a huge support off the ice too and some of our biggest cheerleaders. They were a constant support and a phone call away. We were very blessed to have the Dawgs in our corner as we walked through one of the hardest times in our lives.

  16. Michael Freeman

    DAWG NATION SAVES CHRISTMAS

    After an accident totaled the family car on Christmas Eve Day, when my insurance agent was on holiday, Dawg Nation was at my door with a fully fueled suburban and a $250 gas card to help get my family to North Dakota for Christmas. Money was tight then and Dawg Nation kept Christmas alive for our family of seven!

  17. Christina Montoya

    In 2014, I had lost my job, did not qualify for unemployment, had no insurance, and had an impending surgery planned to remove tumors from my liver that had been plaguing me for nearly a year. When I had felt all hope was lost, in stepped Dawg Nation. Not only did the money the donated to me help me with my surgical costs, they also helped me keep a roof over my head until I could get back on my feet and find a new job. Without them, I don’t know where I would be. Thank you Dawg Nation for the kindness and love you spread within our community!

  18. Jorden

    I’ve had the privilege to both work with Dawg Nation as well as be a recipient of their incredible work. Several years ago I was dealing with some minor injuries that required surgery and were keeping me off the ice, but that I was living with. I was nominated and received a check that I was admittedly embarrassed to take considering they typically help people with a lot more serious life issues than what I was dealing with. The money did help ease the burden of the medical costs, and I am forever thankful for their organization and will continue to help through my business in any way they ask. Dawg Nation is the best!

  19. Lorraine

    God Bless you for all you do for others 👼💖😊

  20. Heather Karas

    In June 2013 my amazing husband lost his battle with Leukemia. He played and coached hockey for years and was well known in the hockey community. The incredible family at Dawg Nation quickly put a fundraiser skate and raffle together for us. Surrounded by so many people that cared about us, Dawg Nation presented us with a check for over $14,000 to help with so many expenses. They are truly incredible!! That was the day the Karas family (myself and my hockey playing twins) became part of the Dawg Nation family. I’ve developed amazing friendships, and have the utmost respect and appreciation for everyone at Dawg Nation, and I continue to be in awe of everything they do. Thank you!!

  21. Rob & Kelli Packard

    In 2009 my son, Danny Packard, was diagnosed with cancer. He was 23 years old and single. Imagine finding yourself in a hospital room recovering from the first of four surgeries at that young age. Then imagine 10 men storming your room, (the doctor said no visitors) with a poster (signed by a bunch of other hockey players) a signed hockey stick or two and a thousand dollars cash. How do you think you’d feel then? Like you weren’t doing this alone, is how my son felt. Later that year Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation was formed, and I have been dedicated to them ever since. No one does what DNFH does, at least the way they do it. And, DNHF is made up of adult hockey beer league players. You can’t get better than that. By the way, my son received many more grants from DNHF, but he has always said it wasn’t the money that made the difference. He has recovered, he has married, and he has given my wife and I two wonderful grandchildren with another on the way. I can never thank DNHF enough.

  22. Christina Montoya

    Dawg Nation is undoubtedly the best BLT around. From 2013-2014 I was dealing with liver tumors no doctor would touch. In the beginning of 2014 I finally found an amazing surgeon, but lost my job, was unable to get unemployment, and lost my insurance right before my surgery was to take place. In stepped Dawg Nation. With their fundraising efforts, not only could I pay my medical expenses related to my surgery, but the money they raised for me enabled me to keep my roof over my head while I recovered and looked for work. If Dawg Nation didn’t step in, I don’t know where I would be mentally, physically, financially, and most importantly emotionally. The support, compassion, kindness, and love that our Dawg community has for one another is unparalleled.

  23. Cindy Richardson

    I don’t know how the other team’s rating as far as “Best” goes, but when you look at Dawg Nation’s history, giving back to over 60 families in need can’t be beat! In looking at how the voting happens with teams only sharing the post a few times then receiving thousands of votes seems suspicious. Dawg Nation’s motto – Play Hard, PLAY FAIR, Give Back. I know we can look at how we fought this battle and we can say…no cheating! Play Fair

  24. Bretlyn Schmidtmann

    When you look up the term “team” on the internet, you can find a definition from businessdictionary.com that states “A team becomes more than just a collection of people when a strong sense of mutual commitment creates synergy, thus generating performance greater than the sum of the performance of its individual members.” The winner of the Westy should exemplify synergy. What you cannot find on the web is the recipe ingredients for cooking up a team that has it.
    But, what you CAN find is the soup for the soul being served up by Dawg Nation Hockey on a regular basis. This is a team that started with an idea that a small group could make a big difference…synergy! You can see just from this comment section the kind of difference they have been making, a tremendous difference, in the lives of their hockey family.
    On July 9th, 2016, we lost our home, and one of our two dogs – a St. Bernard named Geno, to a wildland fire. My best friend contacted Dawg Nation, hoping for a little assistance with replacement hockey gear to get me back out on the ice. IF Dawg Nation were just a collection of people, without synergy, their response might have been that simple.
    But, instead, Dawg Nation went far above and beyond that simple request, and they made us a part of their family. We received a substantial amount of money to help rebuild our home. And they gave us Watson. Watson is a ridiculously cute St. Bernard puppy. I think they did this because they didn’t just see me as another hockey player, what they saw was our family in need.
    They understood that we hadn’t just lost our home. Perhaps you don’t see dogs as family, but we certainly do, and losing Geno left a large hole in the heart of ours.
    What Dawg Nation couldn’t know was that I lost my mother to a house fire when I was a one year old, and that later I lost the restaurant that I had worked for years to establish in an earthquake in 1989. I am no stranger to disaster, no stranger to loss. I thought at first that those experiences would somehow make this fire easier for us to deal with, less difficult somehow. Instead, my husband and I found our lives with a hole left by Geno’s absence that we couldn’t fill and ourselves looking over our shoulders, wondering, what next?
    What came next was Dawg Nation. Initially a small collection of people whose hope was to honor a friend and make a difference in their community, they have become a synergistic team of people whose mutual commitment to helping hockey players has melded them into a family in the best possible sense.
    It seems almost impossible that a hockey organization and a 20 pound ball of fluff named Watson could patch holes in human hearts, but they have.
    Dawg Nation started with a group of teammates hoping that in times of need, hockey players could look over their shoulders and see their other family, their hockey family, standing there supporting them. I can tell you that their hope has been realized, more than they could ever know. My hope is that the Westy is awarded to this amazing team.
    I can tell you that we are going to be just fine, that we are going to get through our tragedy, because Dawg Nation is exactly what they hoped to become: they are what I see when I look over my shoulder – my hockey family.
    Watson has patched the hole in our family, and the support of Dawg Nation Hockey has filled it with love.
    Go Dawgs!

  25. Jeff

    I can’t imagine a more deserving organization for this award. I have had 2 friends with cancer that the Dawgs helped raise funds for and watched as they have helped many others at their events. The support for another friend’s family after he passed away last year was incredible. Hard to go to any of their events without shedding a few tears and coming out feeling proud to be a part of something that is truly making a difference in the lives of people in need.

  26. Laura

    I’ve (thankfully) never needed assistance from the Dawgs, but I’m sure that I would get valuable support if I needed it. I love playing in their annual tournament, and the survivors game is a joy to watch and always brings tears and joy to players and spectators. This organization is a class act, and will always be an inspiration to me. Play hard, play fair, give back!

  27. Dawg Father

    Here’s video link to the trailer for a documentary done on our team by independent film maker, Christopher Tatum. This film was shown in the the Denver area at local theater and also made the rounds at several film festivals.

    https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8N-speQ2m4ZYzhHNUtneUF1XzA/edit?pli=1

  28. Michael Sullivan

    The Dawgs deserve the Westy because we drink plenty of beer after our games but, when we drink beer we usually spend some time talking about all the good things the Dawgs do in the community.

  29. Adam Taylor

    Happy to help Garrett and Dawg Nation with my vote.

  30. Andy

    Dawg Nations reach has extended further than just America. Even I that lived in Scotland have felt the compassion and love of Dawg Nation. They invited me over to Colorado in Jan 2015 after hearing my story on how I became and Avalanche fan. This incredible group of people showed me how important hockey family is and the effort and determination they put into helping families and players in need is just amazing. I have she’d so many tears from wathing the dawgs at work. Presenting checks to cancer fighters. To running entire tournaments with over 50 teams and dedicating all the money raised to a critically injured flight for life nurse. These people give me and all who support them a second family. Or in some cases. Their only family.

  31. Andrew Smith

    Hoping for a Dawg victory! I’ve seen some great things in the events I’ve attended and hope that Dawg Nation gets chosen for this cause. I know they’ll put it to good use!

  32. John Matthew

    These guys are amazing. They have Dawg Nation teams in most leagues, Dawgs, Dawgs II, Top Dawgs, Chien Bizzare, Los Perron, Olde Dawgs, etc. Why? Because everyone likes, supports, and wants to be a part of the Dawgs. They have professional player support, fund raising that always surpasses expectations, a wonderful Dawg Bowl fundraising tournament with a Survivor Game with participants that have beat cancer and such. I can’t imagine it will be long before they have proud representatives in other states. The Dawg Father, Marty, had a vision and made it happen. They are always in the news and hockey community helping those fellow players in need.

  33. Mike

    Dawg Nation has been such an inspiration since I was lucky enough to become a part of it this summer. Having only played 1 rec season while in college, I joined what I thought was a simple Beer League Hockey Team. It really is so much more. The good that goes back into the community, the comradery and support I’ve felt trying to learn the game, it’s been amazing.

  34. Andy

    In addition to all these incredible stories, the Dawgs also keep the BEER in Beer League Team. For 6 years the Dawgs have hosted an adult hockey tournament at their home rink. Literally EVERY year, these 3 days are the biggest three sales days at the rink bar – by a lot!
    Go Dawgs!!

  35. Jon Meredith

    Putting on an Old Dawgs sweater prior to a beer league game means I represent an organization that is giving back to our community in a big way. Every person on our team gives either their time or money, most do both, to help Dawg Nation. As the organization has evolved, it is astonishing to witness how many people from all over the country have become involved, by either donating or supporting. NHL referees volunteer to ref at our summer tournament, NHL players give signed jerseys, an ex-NHL player and future Hall of Famer is on our board, all four college hockey teams from last years Frozen Four donated team signed jerseys, the Universities of North Dakota and Denver have participated for years and most especially my neighbors daughter gave an unsolicited donation from her babysitting money.

    As we sit around after games and taking the jerseys off and enjoying our beverages, I am grateful to know that as a team the Old Dawgs, played hard, played fair and most of all we all give back!

  36. Mel Dusdal

    So happy for you, Dawgs! Thank you for all you’ve done for the Moilanen family. Craig is surely smiling down on you! We’ll keep our fingers crossed for a first place!

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