Archive for the ‘NHL’ Category

Vancouver Canucks

On March 15, the Vancouver Canucks hosted their annual Canucks For Kids Fund Telethon presented by Chevrolet. During the game that night, fans were encouraged to donate to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice. According to the Canucks website (canucks.nhl.com), “the Hospice provides 24-hour, 7-days-a-week care by nurses and physicians in addition to family care, end-of-life, pain and symptom management, school music and play therapy, recreation opportunities and counseling services. Since 1993, the Vancouver Canucks and the Canucks for Kids Fund have supported Canuck Place with over $18 million in funding.” The totals are still coming in for this year’s fund and fans are still able to donate, so the final tally is not yet available. Last season, the Canucks donated $1.7 million dollars to Canuck Place.

There are so many reasons to love this partnership and the telethon. Through my experience in the NHL, I admired the Canucks for their charity work. The telethon is not only a great fundraising avenue, but a great marketing tool. It gives Canuck Place plenty of media exposure throughout the season and encourages dedicated fans to donate to a charity that is so close to the hearts of so many players. The support of the players is evident on the website for Canuck Place (www.canuckplace.org). Former Canuck, Trevor Linden is quoted on the home page of the site, “we were having so much fun playing hockey with the kids. The magic of the hospice is all about allowing kids to just be kids.” PSA’s featuring All Star goalie Roberto Luongo can also be found the site.

What’s also wonderful about a consistent partnership like this for a team is that it gives the players familiarity with a local charity. If a player is looking to volunteer some of his time, it gives him a place to go where he will be welcome and always invited. Since many players spend time playing for different teams, having partnerships like these with a local charity is beneficial. It’s great to give the players a familiar place to visit and volunteer. And, it gives players the desire to stay involved after retirement.

Mario Lemieux

Mario Lemieux started his foudation, The Mario Lemieux Foundation in 1993 before his diagnosis with Hodkin’s disease. His Foundation focuses on helping hospitals in Pittsburgh, including the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh. Since ’93, Lemieux has made donations in the millions to organizations in the healthcare fields.

On the website for the Foundation (www.mariolemieux.org), Lemieux states that the ultimate goal is to find a cure for cancer. With his focus and dedication to cancer research, hopefully we are closer to reaching that goal everyday. 

This story was brought to my attention through the Penguins website and Lemieux’s work with the  Make-A-Wish Foundation. He granted the wish of a young hockey fan and cancer survivor earlier this week – http://penguins.nhl.tv/team/console.jsp?catid=19&id=37095. 

It’s refreshing to see athletes like Mario Lemieux so dedicated to a cause and willing to grant wishes of young fans.

Zdeno Chara

Zdeno Chara of the Boston Bruins defended his title as owner of the NHL’s hardest slapshot during this year’s NHL All Star Game’s weekend festivities. During the television broadcast, Chara sported a yellow stocking cap supporting the international charity Right to Play. Chara got all participants in the competition, along with their teams and the NHL to donate $24,000 to the charity of the winner of the hardest slapshot.

This won’t be the largest fundraiser that we talk about on Charitable Athletes, but it’s impressive because of the scope and Chara’s passion to increase the fundraising for Right To Play. Chara worked closely with the Deputy Director of Right to Play, Mark Brender, to find the hat to wear during the competition. The hat was featured brightly during TV coverage on Versus. The impressive part about this is that Chara could have just donated his time or money to Right To Play, but he decided to get more players involved and requested to wear the hat that night.

Brender made a great comment that sums up a lot of what we are looking for on this blog in regards to Chara’s involvement in Right To Play, “It gives us so much credibility. A lot of times when pro athletes lend their name to a cause, it’s really just in-and-out. But when a guy like (Chara) gets involved he is so committed that he gives us credibility when we say that we have athlete ambassadors.” Athletes like Chara are the role models that many of us expect from professional athletes. We should be encouraging kids to look up to the Zdeno Chara’s and Lance Armstrong’s of the sporting world!

For more information on Right to Play, visit http://www.righttoplay.com.

Edmonton Oilers

Today, the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation announced a special St. Patrick’s Day Puck Surprise Online Auction. Proceeds from the auction will benefit the Make A Wish Foundation of Northern Alberta, Rainbow Society of Alberta and the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation. The online auction consists of 65 unique items including game worn jerseys, equipment, sticks and other autographed items. Along with the online auction, fans at tonight’s Oilers game can purchase autographed pucks for $20 with hopes that one puck signed by each player will be signed in gold ink. If the luck of the Irish is on the side of that fan and the puck is signed in gold, he or she will walk away with a hockey stick autographed by the entire team.

These auctions (both online and during games) are a great way for teams to raise money for their Foundations and Foundation partners with little effort. Fans are always eager for autographs, so these simple fundraisers that cost very little to do are an excellent way to bring awareness to a cause and to give fans of all ages and incomes the opportunity to get involved. More and more teams are having similar auctions, and it’s a trend that helps a lot of people who rely directly on the foundations involved.

For more information, visit http://www.oilersfoundation.ca.