Marion native walks 75 miles for his hockey charity
MARION — To make up lost fundraising money for his charity, The Penalty Box Foundation, Marion native Drew Laine decided to take a walk — a 75 mile walk in one day, to be exact.
The solo fundraiser started at noon on June 19 at an ice rink (The William A. Connell skating rink in Weymouth) visited various other ice rinks and ended at the Travis Roy Arena in Marion, where Laine used to play for Old Rochester Regional High School. At the same time, the foundation had a GoFundMe page open, and raffled off a Peloton and other prizes to raise almost $20,000.
Laine, who now lives in Andover, started a subscription box for hockey goods but called The Penalty Box in 2016. That eventually turned into a e-commerce platform for hockey, which led to a related foundation that helps hockey players who suffer catastrophic losses (such as the loss of a parent) to stay in the game.
He called the trek “a mental and physical grind,” but also added that it was “very fulfilling” because he was “supporting a cause that is so near to me as a person.”
It was certainly an endurance test, especially since he thought he could walk 75 miles in a day, but it ended up taking more like 28.5 hours to complete.
Laine said the walk truly required “finding those barriers and having no choice but to break through them.”
When he reached noon on June 20, he was in Bourne and had to decide whether to stop, since he had exceeded his time limit, or continue. He decided that “the whole point of this is 24 and 75 miles.”
Ultimately, he said “it was the people around me that lifted me.” His brother flew out from Oklahoma, and his wife came out to walk with him for the last ten miles.
He has built a network of 45,000 hockey fans throughout North America and said he got many messages during the walk that also helped push him on.
“I got emotional because there were so many people pushing me,” Laine said.
For most of the walk Laine was more or less solo, accompanied only by a small support team on RVs who would go a few blocks ahead of him to make sure he didn’t get lost, especially in neighborhoods with lots of turns.
However there were some moments of levity in the toughness. Laine ran into a raccoon at dusk which he said “scared the living daylights out of me, because I was half-distracted.”
He also had to stop short on a deer, not more than 10 feet away. It wouldn’t have been that unnerving, Laine said, if it hadn’t been 3:30 in the morning with the deer stubbornly refusing to move.
The entrepreneur and former hockey player felt that he had to try the feat of endurance because he had “to make a commitment to people. We take care of our own - if we can’t fulfill that, who are we?”
It wasn’t the foundation that came first, though. Laine started a subscription box for hockey goods modeled after the Bark Box, but called The Penalty Box, in 2016. That eventually turned into a e-commerce platform for hockey, which led to a related foundation that helps hockey players who suffer catastrophic losses (such as the loss of a parent) to stay in the game.
Liane said that he formed the foundation because he thought it was important to “amplify the reach, love and cohesion that the hockey community has,” and also said “ when you focus on growing more than just the company it pays dividends.”
Some might think of hockey as “just a sport,” but Liane has realized that “hockey is an outlet for a lot of kids. There’s such a wide spectrum for people who might have a tough time in the classroom... that’s their therapy. And there are 12 to 15 other parents who will take care of them and a coach.”
And that’s worth walking more than a day for.