How one organization honors the life of a teammate every year. Hockey is not just a sport…it’s a family.
By Tara Baer & The Falcons Girls’ Families
The 11th Annual Gina Bronge Memorial Game was played on October 15, 2018 to a full house at Highland Park Centennial Ice Arena. The rink was bursting with excitement; over 40 North Shore girls participated in a Girls’ Clinic which kicked off the event. Girls from 4 to 13 years of age skated with the Falcons/Scouts girls. Big girls paired up with little girls to complete drills, smiles and high fives all around. The enthusiasm in the locker room was infectious as the girls were full of smiles, laughter and chatter. The phrase, “I want to be like her when I grow up.” was heard frequently. The big girls were as popular as Patrick Kane, posing for pictures.
The Memorial Game is held every year in honor of Gina Bronge – #22 (pictured above left), left defenseman for the Falcons, who lost her life in a car accident in 2007. The first 22 seconds of each game was played with the left defenseman position vacant, in honor of Gina. It was a heartfelt moment as every parent in the crowd felt for Gina’s family. It was with a mixture of sadness and joy that we watched these talented young women take the ice to play the game they love in Gina’s honor.
The combined Falcons/Scouts Girls team played against the Gurnee Firefighters Local 3598 which included some supplements, like the Falcon’s U16 Head Coach Billy Polovin. Even with this extra star power, the girls pulled off the win in a well fought 5-4 game.
Karen Pagano (Gina’s mother), friends and the Falcons organized the annual event which raised money through raffle tickets, silent auction, a duck-toss and food sales. Proceeds benefit the Gina Bronge Memorial Scholarship Fund. The Fund awards one or more scholarships annually to female hockey players demonstrating Bronge’s similar style of play, leadership, love of the game, courage and determination. The scholarship offsets the cost of hockey camps or equipment. In the past 11 years over $50,000 has been raised.
Keep your eyes open for next year’s game!
Donations can be sent to:
The Gina Bronge Memorial Scholarship Fund
c/o Karen Bronge Pagano
1243 Hazel Ave.
Deerfield, IL 60015