Bowdoin will host the annual Skate With the Polar Bears Food Drive on Sunday, inviting children from the greater Brunswick community to come for a free skate with the men's and women's hockey teams.
The two-hour event will take place in Watson Arena starting at 12:15 p.m.
Terry Meagher, head coach of the men's hockey team, has helped run the event for the past 29 years.
"We have a lot of community members, especially young people, who come to the games, and so we thought we would have a skate where they can integrate with the team," he said.
Furthermore, everyone who attends is encouraged to bring a non-perishable food donation. These donations are collected and brought to the Brunswick Food Pantry downtown.
"The most common things are the canned soups, the boxed macaroni and other non-perishables," said Meagher. "But admission is free. I don't want people to feel like they can't come if they don't bring anything."
He anticipates anywhere between 150 and 200 attendants, saying that the numbers vary every year and often depend on publicity for the event.
Meagher also stressed that the event is open to all students.
"It would be fun if more Bowdoin students came," he said.
Director of Athletics Jeff Ward, who attends the event every year, explained that Skate With the Polar Bears is one of several events with younger kids that Bowdoin hosts throughout the year and described it as "pure fun."
"I just like seeing kids bombing around the rink," he said. "There will always be a couple of seven-year-old kids who are going too fast, and a couple three-year-olds who are just trying out their skates."
Dominique Lozzi '12, captain of the women's hockey team, said that Skate With the Bears also helps strengthen relationships between players and local children who already know one another.
"During the fall we ran hockey clinics with a lot of elementary school girls," she said. "We'd have about six girls on our team come help our coaches run those, so I think this year a lot of those girls will be coming."
Meagher also spoke about the significance of giving young people the chance to meet the teams in person.
"I think what's really important, outside of the gain at the food bank, is that our players do see how much of an impact they have on community members and that they really are role models," he said.
"When I go out there and hear a six-year-old say, 'Hey Coach, good game last night, you guys played great!' I don't know if money can buy that," Meagher added. "It's priceless."