The University of Michigan hockey team will be holding its third annual ALS Awareness Game on Friday, October 26, when it hosts St. Lawrence University.
The term “Ice ALS” has taken on a special meaning on the University of Michigan athletic and medical campuses over the past few years. Scott Matzka, a member of the U-M hockey team’s 1998 national championship-winning team, was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, in September 2015. After Matzka’s former head coach at U-M, Red Berenson, learned of his prognosis, the U-M hockey team set out to support one of its own and others like him.
On October 8, 2016, the Michigan hockey team held its first ALS Awareness Game in conjunction with the ALS Center of Excellence at Michigan Medicine. In addition to recognizing Matzka and his family, the event included the family and teammates of former Wolverine Jim Ballantine (class of 1991), who was lost to ALS in 2002. Also, Joe Feudi and his family was included; Joe’s wife, Jill, was employed by Yost Ice Arena at the time.
The second ALS Awareness Game took place on February 3, 2018, when Michigan hosted the University of Wisconsin. The Matzka family and the ALS Center of Excellence were once again prominently featured in the days leading up to the game and the night itself.