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Local teens raise more than $3k for Mercer special needs hockey program

Collin Penders (l) and Andreas Oskiper (r), junior coaches for the Mercer Bulldogs

Two volunteer coaches for the Mercer Bulldogs special needs hockey program have raised $3,200 for the organization.

Andreas Oskiper and Collin Penders held a virtual bingo night on Friday for participants in the Mercer Bulldogs hockey program because the kids in the program were unable to get ice time this year due to the pandemic. They told their friends, family members, and neighbors about the organization and asked them to make a donation. They also advertised virtual bingo, which was free for players and their family members, and was $10 for others who wanted to participate. Oskiper and Penders had bingo cards mailed out to kids in the program before the event, and prepared other games for the event like unscramble, hangman, and guess the number.

Penders is a rising senior in the Pennington School and lives in Lawrenceville. Oskiper is a rising senior at Princeton High School. They have been hockey teammates for the past three years for several hockey teams, in addition to serving as volunteer coaches for the Mercer Bulldogs. They decided to help out with fundraising efforts last year after seeing that the organization could use some help in that area, and the two have now organized two successful fundraisers. Oskiper and Penders have been recognized by Mercer Special Hockey President Jackie Zohn with the titles of “ambassador of Mercer Special Hockey” and “acting officer of community outreach,” for their efforts.

Mercer Special Hockey is a non-profit organization that works to help kids with special needs play the sport they love. For more information about the organization, visit mercerspecialhockey.com.