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December 28 will see the Danbury, Conn. rugby team recognized during a local hockey game for their undefeated 7-0 season in the Empire GU DII club competition.

The evening at the home rink of the Danbury Whalers of the Federal Hockey League was supposed to be a celebration for the club, and while they remain proud of their accomplishment, a heavy cloud is hanging over the region these days.

Danbury, of course, is only nine miles from Sandy Hook Elementary School, the site of a horrific shooting last week. So the evening of celebration has turned into something else. The team is selling tickets to the game ($15) to help raise money for funeral costs for the families affected by the tragedy.

Danbury club president Mike Damici said the entire club has been touched by the Sandy Hook shooting.

“Past players had kids in the school and a lot of us either knew someone directly affected by this or were affected by this, just because it hit in our back door,” he said.

For information on tickets, or on the club’s efforts to help the Sandy Hook families, contact Danbury Rugby Football Club VP Joseph Sullivan at [email protected].

It’s no surprise Danbury RFC has been able to take action in the wake of tragedy, as on the field and off, this season has been a successful one for the club.

“All season long we were 15 guys playing tough,” said Coach Scott Marinich. “But it all came around because six to eight months ago we came together as a club, and put together a new plan on how we were going to organize the club. We got new people involved as officers, and we’re just better organized. And that’s allowed us to play as a unit, too.”

Now the club, which is already running a fundraising project to buy book bags for African schoolkids, will operate as a unit to do something for a very hurt community.

If you wish to donate to the Danbury fundraiser, you can send your donation to Danbury Rugby PO Box 952 Danbury Ct 06811 with the memo Sandy Hook.

If you live in Connecticut, call 211 to donate through the United Way.