February 14, 2011
On Saturday night at the Pepsi Coliseum in Indianapolis, Richard Marsh stood at one end of the rink and stared down at the opposite goal, which was covered by a board with a small opening for a puck to slide through.
The USHL's Indiana Ice were holding a special "Hockey for Heart" night sponsored by St. Vincent Heart Center of Indiana. If Marsh scored on this extraordinarily difficult rink-length shot in the team's Allstate Good Hands Shootout, $50,000 would be donated by Allstate to St. Vincent's Cardiovascular of Indiana and the American Heart Association.
After the Ice's mascot took an inspirational heave of the puck down the ice, Marsh took his shot ... and sent the puck through the board into the net. Check it out (no sound on the video, FYI):
Here's the remarkable part: Marsh could have kept the money if he won, but decided before he even took the shot that if he made it, he was going to donate it all to charity. There was just one prize of $50,000; all of it was going to St. Vincent's Cardiovascular of Indiana and the American Heart Association.
One problem: Marsh didn't completely follow the rules.
According to the USHL, Marsh was "standing in front of the designated starting line" when he released the shot, and thus "the insurance company voided the award due to Marsh" standing in the wrong place. Which makes it a real killjoy. Isn't there some sort of exception for ridiculous goals scored by guys who look like substitute physics teachers?
(Clarification: There's been some vitriol in the comments regarding AllState, so we contacted the USHL about its role in the matter. Sure enough, Brian Werger of the USHL said the initial release from the League didn't clearly state the fact that a third-party insurance company hired to cover this event at Ice games, and not Allstate, was the one that made the call not to pay out the $50,000.)
With that, it was Paul and Cindy Skjodt to the rescue. The Indiana Ice owners, who are credited with keeping the franchise alive in Indianapolis, "made a donation in recognition of the accomplishment" to the charities, according to the USHL. The amount of the donation was not disclosed.
All in all, a heartwarming tale. Mascot hugs for everyone.