River Otters hockey team hosts Christian Family Night
By Angela Boen
February 22, 2005
ST. CHARLES — If anyone thinks ice hockey and Christian fellowship don’t mix, then they haven’t been to Christian Family Night with the Missouri River Otters.
More than 400 fans gathered Feb. 5 at Family Arena for the special evening that included testimonies from St. Louis Rams’ center Andy McCollum, a member of Missouri Baptist Convention (MBC)-affiliated West County Community Church, and River Otter star Charlie Blyth. Among those in attendance were 250 area children who received free tickets to the event.
Blyth was raised in Canada and lived to play hockey, he told the crowd. A fellow teammate invited him to a Christian hockey camp. Uncertain about what he would experience, he reluctantly agreed. But after a week of hockey instruction and nightly Bible studies Blyth came to the decision he needed Christ as his personal Lord and Savior.
“Blyth’s testimony moved the hockey fans in the crowd,” said Judy Boen, who organized the event. Boen, a member of West County, also is chairperson of the annual Christian Family Day hosted by the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium each summer. “Blyth shared with the crowd how he is the only Christian in his family and he continues to pray for them,” she added.
Unlike Blyth, McCollum grew up going to church and was raised in a Christian home. However, he said he didn’t allow Christ to make a difference in his life. He was performance driven and every loss and win on the football field was where he found his self-worth. It wasn’t until McCollum was in his late 20s that he made a decision to truly follow Christ. He was continually searching for proof that Christ truly is who he says He is. McCollum had a heart change and he hasn’t looked back. He encouraged the audience not to wait another minute to accept Christ as their Savior.
“I’ve done the research so you don’t have to,” he told the audience.
Several people came forward to receive Christ during an invitation that was extended following the testimonies.
The night also featured Christian music by the Jim Goforth Band, with a special performance by Rebecca Blyth, Charlie Blyth’s wife. Goforth is senior pastor of MBC-affiliated New Life Baptist Church, Florissant. The honorary puck was dropped by McCollum and Boen.
“Lives were changed, the River Otters won the game and Blyth (who scored one of his team’s two goals in a 2-0 win over the Kansas City Outlaws) was the star of the game,” said a jubilant Boen.