On Tuesday evening, Minnesota Swarm players cooked dinner for six lucky fans at their apartment complex in St. Paul.
Swarm fan Sally Zwonitzer and her group won the opportunity to eat with Swarm players through an online auction on mnswarm.com in an effort to raise money for cancer research. In the end, Zwonitzer won the auction for $900 and all of the proceeds went to the Randy Shaver Cancer Research and Community Fund.
“What an awesome experience,” Zwonitzer said. “We got to hang out with these nine great guys and learn more about them and the Swarm."
The idea to host fans for dinner and raise money for cancer research came from Minnesota’s leading goal scorer Ryan Benesch.
“Cancer is something that has affected pretty much everyone,” Benesch said. “We need to find a cure and every little bit of money we can raise definitely helps out. I also thought it would be a good idea to have some Swarm fans come see Neverland and see what it’s all about.”
Benesch did a majority of the cooking Tuesday evening and together with the help of his teammates, served up a full course meal that included steak, chicken, chili, potatoes, and as Benesch said, “everything you could ever imagine.”
The lead chef even utilized a few of his family’s homemade recipes in the process.
“I made my mom’s cheesy potatoes, and I cooked up my dad’s chili,” Benesch said. “I brought a little bit of flavor from home, and hopefully I did my parents’ food justice.”
When it was time to eat, those in attendance learned quickly that Swarm players could indeed cook up a good meal.
“They did a great job,” Zwonitzer said. “Everything was delicious, and the company was great.
“This is by far the best experience. Obviously we’ve interacted with the guys before, but not on a personal level like this.”