Some of the game’s biggest legends are giving back to the community in a big way. The Minnesota NHL Alumni Association is upping the ante on its local contributions to the State of Hockey.
In conjunction with Reebok/CCM, the group of former NHL players is spearheading a major donation program to underwrite youth hockey expenses for financially challenged young players. In 2013, the program will assist 14 players across the state with equipment and ice fees.
Minnesota NHL Alumni Association President and former Minnesota North Star Brad Maxwell believes this is an important initiative that will benefit local kids, families and associations.
“We wanted to take a more active role in helping players who already play hockey to continue playing, even if they are struggling to afford it,” Maxwell says. “These are kids who love the game and we don’t want to see them go.”
> City of Lakes Youth Hockey Association: Paid off dues for two kids and will be making an equipment donation next month.
> St. Paul Johnson Como Hockey Association: Paid off dues for two kids.
> Minnesota Hockey Recreation League: Paid off hockey dues for one child and will be making an equipment donation.
> Fergus Falls Hockey Association: Will be making an equipment donation to a family of five.
That’s not all these guys have been up to. In 2012, the nonprofit organization initiated a program to donate automated external defibrillators (AEDs) to Minnesota hockey rinks that were not equipped with these life-saving devices. As of January, they have purchased AEDs for arenas in Windom, Forest Lake, Richmond, Hastings, Buffalo, Cloquet, Mankato, Rochester, Warroad, Victoria and Plymouth. Quality AED defibrillators cost approximately $2,000 each.
“These are devices that have saved lives time and time again,” Maxwell says. “A lot of these rinks don’t have these AEDs and we think it’s important they do.”
The association’s goal is to donate 40 AEDs to Minnesota rinks in 2013.
The alumni also participated in a charity game on Veteran’s Day to benefit the Minnesota Warriors, a hockey club for military veterans. And in February, they set up a game to benefit the Chisago Lakes Hockey Association, along with St. Paul native and former Buffalo Sabre Jeff Parker, who is battling cardio pulmonary hypertension.
For more information on the Minnesota NHL Alumni Association and upcoming events, visit mnnhlalumni.com and Like them on Facebook.