Gophers' coach joins team running marathon for charity

10:47 PM, Oct 1, 2013   |    comments
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GOLDEN VALLEY, Minn. - Josh Petzel has a passion for hockey and running.

So, when the opportunity to run the Twin Cities Marathon and raise money for a local charity, he took off.

"To bring both of those things together is really a perfect world for me," says Petzel. "It's really a passion of mine and when something is a passion it's just a natural fit, and it's easy to pursue the goal."

This Sunday, Josh and a group of runners will raise funds for Defending the Blue Line, an organization that helps children of military members afford the cost of hockey.

"It's a combination of a couple of things," says Petzel. "One, my passion for hockey and two, being able to do something patriotic."

In two years, they've raised more than $10,000, and this year they have an ace up their sleeve, or rather a Gopher in the hole.

"When I signed up for the Twin Cities, I saw Defending the Blue Line," said Gophers men's hockey coach Don Lucia. "I said, 'There is my incentive.' I can't back out now."

It turned out Lucia was just as passionate about helping out Defending The Blue Line as Josh and was quite happy to lend his star power to raise money for a good cause.

"I hope that can translate into a lot of donations for them," says Lucia. "Because it's such a worthwhile cause."

Shane Hudella, of Defending the Blue line, believes Lucia's name has provided a boost.

"Having Don and the other 15 runners involved, it just brings so much legitimacy to our organization. It's incredible," Hudella said.

Incredible for the organization and for Petzel, who is a youth hockey coach himself.

"That's what I told everybody, Don is going to have to listen to my line combinations for 26.2 miles," jokes Petzel.

But for Lucia, he's more than happy to listen because, like everyone involved in this run, it will be a labor of love.

"It's just my way and actually our whole team's way of giving back," Lucia said.

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