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Effort To Help To Injured Flight Nurse A Big Success

By Alan Gionet

COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo. (CBS4) - It started with an ambitious goal, raise $20,000 to help injured medical helicopter crew member Dave Repsher. It came out huge.

The Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation charity hockey tournament went gangbusters over the weekend at Copper Mountain. Their goal: help the critically burned flight nurse.

Dave Repsher
Dave Repsher (credit: Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation)

Repsher was hurt in the July 3 crash of a Flight For Life helicopter shortly after takeoff from the St. Anthony Summit Medical Center.

Repsher is a part of the brotherhood of hockey players. Before the crash that left him with burns over 90 percent of his body, Dave would get up in the morning and play hockey with friends at 5:30 a.m. before work. Then, he spent his days helping to save others.

Todd Gehrke
(credit: JWD Imagery)

"He's done more work by the time you've had your first cup of coffee than most people would do all day," Flight nurse Peter Werlin said.

"He's a notoriously tough individual," said another friend.

"He was just a nonstop athlete," said a hockey buddy.

"We were hoping to raise $40,000 to help the Repshers," said Dawg Nation President Martin Richardson.

Jeff Jiampetti
(credit: JWD Imagery)

Dawg Nation has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for hockey players in need since its inception a five years ago. When it came to Repsher, they found a hero in need.

Dave Repsher
Dave Repsher (credit: Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation)

Repsher barely escaped the crash. Veteran pilot Paktrick Mahany died when the helicopter went down and burst into flames.

A total of 24 teams joined on the ice to play pond hockey in the middle of Copper Mountain on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Dawg Nation Tournament
Night play at Dawg Nation Tourney at Copper Mountain (credit: Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation)

Former Los Angeles Kings player Derek Armstrong joined up with Repsher's B Division team, "D-Rep Support" to take the title.

"5280 Waste," was the high bidder for former Avalanche star Milan Hejduk, who joined the team for the weekend and helped them claim the A Division title.

Milan Hejduk
(credit: JWD Imagery)

Former DU star and pro player Aaron MacKenzie also joined the effort.

Jim Cowee
(credit: JWD Imagery)

On Saturday night there was a party with a packed house.

Repsher Fundraiser
Dawg Nation board member Todd Gehrke with president Martin Richardson at Repsher Fundraiser (credit: Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation)

The fundraiser went far beyond anyone's expectation.

"Literally every piece was higher than we thought … it was a grand slam across every front of the tournament," said Richardson.

Repsher Fundraiser
Former Rockies announcer Jeff Kingery, Flight for Life Pilot Lauren Courtney and Dawg Nation President Martin Richardson (credit: Dawg Nation Hockey Foundation)

Overall Dawg Nation is giving Dave and his wife Amanda over $80,000. But the need is hardly fulfilled.

"Dave still has a long road to his recovery, so the financial need will continue to accumulate and we'd love to see people donate more."

Dawg Nation keeps none of it. All the money donated in Dave's name goes to his family.

Here's a link to the donation page with the Dawg Nation charity:

Alan Gionet is anchor of the CBS4 Morning News and reports on a wide variety of issues and "Good Question" stories. He started at CBS4 in 1994. Follow Alan on Twitter @AlanGTV.

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