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Local company moves to help youth hockey program that had funds stolen

By Dave Leval Photojournalist: Nick Swann - 11:48 AM July 16, 2017
Eagle River –

A youth hockey group rocked by an embezzlement case against its former treasurer may be getting an assist soon, from a local equipment manufacturer for the game.

Prosecutors claim 33-year-old Chugiak resident Jennifer Suchan stole $180,000 from the Mustang Hockey Association to pay her bills. Anchorage police arrested Suchan in June after they determined she took the money from Aug. 12, 2015, to June 19, 2017.

That’s left the program with a big financial hole, but Eagle River-based Alaska Twigs announced plans to help the affected players Friday on its Facebook page. The company produces individualized hockey sticks that are sold in the U.S., Canada, and Japan.

The sticks, as well as apparel that supports Mustang Hockey, are available online. The founder of Alaska Twigs, Arlen Ayojak, told KTVA the net proceeds from those sales will go to the hockey program — because he wanted to do his part to help.

“Hockey is pretty big in Alaska, you have friends, you have your own kids that love it and play it,” said Ayojak, who has four sons in the Mustang Hockey Association and serves on its board. “It was pretty devastating to our small community, (and we) just felt the need that being a small business that operates here, that operates in that hockey environment, with our hockey sticks, and apparel, just felt we had to step up.”

Suchan has pleaded not guilty to felony charges of theft and scheming to defraud. She will next appear in court on Aug. 24.

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