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Hockey boosters hope to replace stolen funds

February 1, 2019
Families watch their young hockey players in the Dodge County Ice Arena in Kasson. The Dodge County Youth Hockey Association established a charitable gambling organization to fund capital improvements at the arena. Last summer, someone stole $11,000 from the group’s cash box.

MANTORVILLE — On July 29, 2018, someone made off with $11,000 belonging to the Dodge County Youth Hockey Program.

On Feb. 9, the program hopes to get that money back.

No, the stolen cash hasn’t been returned. But program backers hope a fundraiser at the Mantorville Saloon will raise enough to replace the charitable gambling funds taken last summer.

“In July of 2018 there was a burglary at one of the restaurants where we had pull-tabs and e-tabs,” said Terry Lulf, president of the Dodge County Youth Hockey Association board. “Our freshly refilled cash-box was stolen, resulting in the loss of about $11,000.”

According to the police report filed July 29, the safe was taken from Events Sports Bar & Grill sometime that night. A tripped door alarm was reported by the alarm company just before 1 a.m. Law enforcement officials from both the Kasson police and the Dodge County Sheriff’s Office responded almost immediately as they were at the nearby Kwik Trip.

“Unfortunately, we have no additional information about the theft,” Lulf said. “Because no one has been charged, the case remains open, but we have little hope for legal recourse.”

A spokesman at the Kasson Police Department said the incident was closed.

Hockey fans from throughout the area have stepped up to make the Feb. 9 benefit a successful fundraiser for the program.

There will be a silent auction from 3 to 8 p.m., music from a DJ and prizes including Wild tickets, Garth Brooks tickets, a portable ice-fishing shack, more than 30 gift baskets and many other items.

“The outpouring of support from the community has blessed us with a tremendous number of items for this fundraiser,” Lulf said.

A pulled-pork meal will be available for $6, and there will be a 50/50 raffle in which half the proceeds go to the winner and half is donated to the event.

Donations are still being accepted through jodihoff@yahoo.com or (507) 251-9017, Mike Hoff at (507) 251-9190, Amy Bebee via Facebook or through a gofundme site.

Lulf said items for the silent auction may be dropped at the Mantorville Saloon, but donors should notify one of the above coordinators.

Lulf said that the association started a charitable gambling initiative as a way to raise money for capital improvements to the Dodge County Ice Arena.

The group hopes to pay for improvements such as adding heaters to the penalty box/scoreboard area, updating the locker room, creating a shooting range and getting new whiteboards.

In the long term, the group would like to cover the outdoor public rink and to create a warm space for spectators.

The association has already used some of the charitable gambling proceeds to supply free Wi-Fi and to update the concession area.

The Dodge County Ice Arena is located in the county fairgrounds and is a joint venture between the city of Kasson and Dodge County. The two entities share the costs of maintaining the facility that are not covered by revenue brought in by skaters and hockey matches.

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