Friday Night Freeze an Icy Success

Wayne Brundell, Senior Manager at Facilities and Services Division after her flew down the Freeze MND Ice Slide at Monash Sport's Friday Night Freeze. Photo by Matthew Bass.

By Liam Sharp

The Monash community have come together to raise over $12,000 for the Cure MND Foundation at Monash Sport's Friday Night Freeze, part of Monash University's Winter Festival.

In an evening which drew approximately 4,000 staff, students and families, the Friday Night Freeze included snow activities such as tobogganing and snow-dodge ball, as well as a Monash Blues Amateur football match and Melbourne Victory player zone.

The focal point of the evening was raising money for the Cure MND Foundation. Participants could register themselves to ride down an ice slide into a pool of freezing cold water, earning donations in the weeks beforehand. This follows the 'Big Freeze at the 'G' in Round 10 of the AFL Premiership Season, which saw 11 football personalities ride down an ice slide in front of a packed house at the MCG before the Collingwood vs Melbourne match.  A majority of donations for the Friday Night Freeze were received online, and over $300 was collected from donation tins on the night.

Director of Monash Sport, Brett Lavale, was amazed by the success of the Friday Night Freeze in only its first year. Last year Monash Sport ran an event called Friday Night Live, however made changes to coincide with Monash University's first ever Winter Festival.

"It was a fantastic, successful event, both from a participation perspective and also from a quality of experience for the students and the staff and the community members who attended the event. So we estimated that we got about 4,000 people, or 4,000 sets of feet, attend the event," Mr Lavale said.

"So the campus community division decided it was going to do a major winter festival which ended up being called winterfest. And so Monash Sport was keen to co-locate its Friday Night Live event, which was started last year, with that festival and to enhance it and certainly expand it, which proved really successful."

See video highlights from Friday Night Freeze here.

Unlike the televised ice slide a few weeks ago, anyone could register for the Friday Night Freeze Ice Slide and raise money, which resulted in a mix of Monash Sport staff members, Monash Blues players and senior Monash staff members.

"So a number of senior University staff went down the ice slide, commencing with Martin Doulton, Director of Team MONASH. He was the first down the slide, and he was followed by Vladimir Prpich, Executive Director of Campus Community Division, and Vlad's wife Trisha Prpich, who is the Director of Monash Residential Services. Bradley Williamson, the Executive Director of Facilities and Services Division. And Wayne Brundell, who is one of the Senior Managers over at Facilities and Services Division," Mr Lavale said.

"And then we had a number of Monash Sport staff, Tania Hetherington, Caroline Lawrence, Melanie Elston and Maria Barres, who went down the slide. Also a number of Monash Blues Football Club players and past players went down the slide which was really pleasing."

Fresh off their Premiership and Championship wins, Melbourne Victory players Fahid Ben Khalfallah, Kosta Barbarouses and Rashid Mahazi were signing autographs and taking photos with fans beside a Victory shootout zone. Being Melbourne born and bred, 23 year-old Mahazi knows Monash well.

"To be honest I grew up around the corner from here, so I've been here quite a bit. And I think when we weren't training at Gosch's Paddock there was a period we trained here," he said.

Positioned adjacent to the Freeze MND Ice Slide, the Melbourne Victory players had the perfect view of the ice slide throughout the night.

"We were pretty amazed, it's quite a good cause. That's a really good thing they were doing down there," Mahazi said.

"And as well we're just enjoying being here, signing some things for the kids, meeting the families, it's a good night."

Cure MND is a charity close to the Monash Blues Amateur Football Club. Mick Rodger was a popular person around the club well beyond his playing days, and was working to fight MND right up until his passing due to the disease. The Monash Blues supported Mick all the way, and his legacy proves to be very strong today, as Senior Coach Paul Groves, and players Sam Baring, Andrew McGregor and Maddison Hardiman took the plunge down the ice slide at halftime. Much to the enjoyment of their fellow team mates watching on.

Other attractions on the night included a snowboard demo from the Monash Uni Boardriders, bubble soccer, DJ, fire twirlers, foodtrucks, fireworks and a football match under lights between the Monash Blues and De La Salle Old Collegians Under 19 sides. Having fireworks pre-game pumped up both teams, however the Monash Blues ran over the top of De La to win by 71 points.

See video highlights from Friday Night Freeze here.