HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The 15th annual Melissa George Night with the Huntsville Havoc is coming up. But like so many other events, it’ll be different this year.
Huntsville Havoc Hockey has hosted Melissa George night for 14 years. Since 2007, hockey fans have given more than $668,000 to the Melissa George Neonatal Memorial Fund.
The money buys life-saving equipment and supports programs for the Regional Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children. And this year, Neonatal ICU Director Nichole Davidson has plans for the money raised. “We are planning on using it to purchase transcutaneous CO2 monitors,” she told me.
“When a baby has elevated CO2 levels or levels that are abnormal, it can cause detrimental effects on the baby’s brain and the lungs,” Nichole said during our interview, “So we want to make sure they stay at a level that’s appropriate for them.”
The NICU has three of the CO2 monitors but hopes to buy two more. “It gives us the chance to make those changes on the piece of equipment that are helping them to breathe without having to stick them and get blood,” she told me.
Each unit costs $12,000. With more than 1,000 babies coming through the NICU every year, the monitors will help take care of the sickest babies.
No doubt, Havoc fans will again, come up with a “W” on Melissa George Night on February 13th even though attendance is limited because of social distancing. “The arena won’t be full, and you know that night is always a sellout,” Amy George told me. “It just can’t be because of COVID right now.”
And there won’t be a giveaway for fans who donate an item on their way into the game. “We can’t do that this year,” Amy said with disappointment in her voice, “There was no safe way to do that with our volunteers because that involved exchanging materials and it’s so important to us right now that we are keeping people safe.”
But the biggest change is the jersey auction that usually follows the game. It will be online. And you’ll be able to start bidding a week before the puck drops. “You don’t have to come to the game to bid on a jersey,” Amy said, “And we’re really excited about that part because we think it opens the opportunity to have a Huntsville Havoc jersey to people all over.”
One last change for this year, and this one certainly doesn’t stink. “The players wear the jerseys, take them off and just give them to whoever bought them. So that jersey’s probably a little smelly and if there’s a good fight, it might have some blood on it,” Amy said with a laugh, “This year, again, you can’t do that because of COVID so the Havoc will wash the jersey and then ship them to the winner.”
She added, “You’ll receive a game worn jersey, but it will be clean which you’ll probably like better.” We both chuckled.
Again, Melissa George Night with the Huntsville Havoc is February 13th. The puck drops at 7 pm at the VBC Propst Arena.
The online jersey auction is live at https://web.dashapp.io/auction/601856ba114b3e1d43484b7b?fbclid=IwAR10gMna_-Vd_np0y1H0QBtoV_fTl-fSbwHilVJVEKK7orYEm4JZWkImb3Y.
Go bid on your favorite items now and support the babies fighting in the Huntsville Hospital NICU.