April 7, 2021

Casting for Kids raises funds for pediatric cancer research

Mark Osiecki, associate head coach of the UW men’s hockey team, is the founder of Casting for Kids, a fundraiser to raise awareness for kids cancer.

When the hockey season ends for coach Mark Osiecki, another round of work begins.

Not long after the conclusion of the NCAA’s Frozen Four, Osiecki will move from the ice to the open water and exchange pucks for pike.

That’s because, Osiecki, associate head coach of the UW men’s hockey team, is the founder of Casting for Kids. The annual fishing event, now in its third year, raises money for the American Family Children's Hospital and the UW Carbone Cancer Center. To date, the event has raised over $160,000 for local pediatric cancer care and research initiatives.

After COVID-19 cancelled last year’s event, Casting for Kids will return on May 22, 2021, with COVID precautions in place.

While the event itself is a tournament – and there are prizes involved – Osiecki says catching the biggest fish isn’t the point of the event.

“It’s a fun day on the water and we don’t take it too seriously,” Osiecki said. “It’s not going to be stuffy, it’s going to be fast, it’s going to be an upbeat event.”

This year, 60 guides will volunteer their boats, equipment and time to take registered anglers out onto the Madison lakes. Whether your fish of choice is the musky, the northern pike, the walleye, or the bass, there’s a division for you to compete in.

And if you don’t know the first thing about fishing, that’s fine, too. No one says you have to take a single cast once you’re out on the boat.

Overall, Osiecki says it’s a great opportunity to get outside, have some fun with friends and do some good in the process. You also might see a former Badger or two among the ranks.

For more information, and to sign up, check out the Casting for Kids webpage.