Black & Gold Gala pulls out all the stops in first year

Published 8:25 pm Wednesday, January 31, 2024

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During the inaugural 2010-11 season the Austin Bruins introduced an event that would have a lasting impact on Austin when they hosted the first-ever Paint the Rink Pink.

On Wednesday night, they added another that many hope will have the same lasting impact — The Black & Gold Gala.

The black tie and formal dress affair drew an impressive amount of people for its first year and proved to Bruins Head Coach Steve Howard that this was an addition Paint the Town Pink (PTTP) had been missing.

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“That was kind of the thought behind all of this,” Howard said. “What don’t we have for Paint the Town Pink and this was the kind of thing we thought of. It should generate some excitement.”

Announced in January, during the kick-off event at The Hormel Institute as part of Business After Hours, the gala was thought of by many as a prom for adults.

Aside from the hopes of the event, Howard pulled up short of naming any expectations for what the gala could achieve.

“We really didn’t put a dollar amount on it because it’s the inaugural one,” Howard said. “We just wanted to make sure there was some positive money for The Hormel Institute from us.”

For those at the Institute that will benefit from the money raised at the gala and all the other events, this new addition is positive affirmation of how dedicated the team is to the overall effort of Paint the Town Pink.

“This is just their recommitment that we believe in cancer research,” said Gail Dennison, Development and External Relations director at the Institute. “This is never anything we expect. This is a gift, not only to The Hormel Institute and the research we do, but the entire community and beyond. It couldn’t be more appreciative.”

In his first year as owner, PTTP is still new to Brian Raduenz, who purchased the team from previous owners Craig Patrick and Mike Cooper.

“I think it’s a fantastic event,” he said. “I’m happy to be here and support it.”

However, events like this can do more than just raise money. It’s a chance to further develop the players that make up the team as well further connect fans to those same players.

On Wednesday night, players were placed at each table to do just that.

“It’s critical. The whole purpose of having this team and obviously giving these kids a chance to play at the next level of hockey is really to build character and have them become a part of the community and give to something that is greater than themselves,” Raduenz said. “This is a perfect example of that. They are learning life skills.”

Even though this is his first year, Raduenz hopes that the Bruins and the gala can be an example of the kind of good that can be done through events such as Wednesday night’s party.

“Any time you are part of a noble purpose where you’re giving back to the community or you’re dedicating your time and resources greater than yourself, that’s sort of a magic special sauce,” he said. “That’s where life is a lot more rewarding.”