Saturday, 7 June 2008

Charitable Donations

Hello everyone! I said I'd speak a little about the Summer Project that I was going to embark on over the course of the next few months, and that's what I intend to do. With the help of the fabulous people at the NHLPA, Hockey Blog In Canada will be doing some in-depth articles on the various charities that NHL players and the NHLPA are involved in. This isn't going to be a "give me money" article, though, as none of the charities are aware that I am doing this for them. I have not been granted authority by the charities to use their names, but I will help them get their names out there a little more. As the picture says, Charitable Donations: Supporting Communities. After all, without a community, there would be no NHL team.

Much like Teebz's Book Club, I will devise a new list to put on to the right-hand side of this blog that has the various names of the charities I write about. I've already started doing the research for these articles, and I am quite impressed with some former and current NHL players who give their time so freely to help make the lives of others better. With the help of Devin Smith, one of the NHLPA's best marketing guys, I will tackle this endeavour all summer long until September. It should be quite interesting for some of the readers on here to find out how freely these professional athletes give their time, especially when they are so busy doing everything else.

Now, I realize there will be some questions as to why I picked this summer project. Let me run over these below.

"Why does this matter to you, and why should it matter to me?"

Again, I am fully aware that without a community, NHL teams wouldn't exist. We, as fans, pay money to watch these men play hockey, a game that others play for free, when we could be using our money elsewhere to help others. NHL players have always been involved in the community, probably more so than the other four major professional sports leagues, because the NHL relies on the money from ticket sales more than the other three leagues. If players can associate themselves with the fans, the fans are more likely to associate themselves with that team. It's really called "good marketing", but it helps in so many more ways.

When players show up at a children's hospital and spend hours there making children smile, those children forget about the pain they are in and the suffering they are enduring from their medical conditions. Seeing your child smile at the sight of their hockey hero coming through the door of their hospital room will bring tears to the eyes of many parents. Their child is no longer suffering which is every parent's best wish. That is what makes this so important.

"Will I have to donate any money?"

Absolutely not, although you may want to. There is no obligation to give money to a charity on this site. All I am doing is exposing the good work that the NHL players and the NHLPA do. If you'd like to donate, you're certainly more than welcome, and I'll make links available with each story if you feel that you'd like to donate.

But I want to be clear: I will not earn a penny if you do, and there is no obligation whatsoever for you to put any money out to these organizations if you don't feel like you can or should.

"Can I suggest a charity?"

Absolutely. The only criteria are these: (1) the organization has to be supported and recognized by the NHLPA - I'll run suggestions by Mr. Smith for approval; (2) the organization has to have an NHL player, current or former, working for it in some capacity; and (3) all the funds are used to better the community in some way.

If you know of a charity that you may want to suggest, please email me with the name of the charity, a website link, and the information on how an NHL player is involved. These emails should go to "cdnuniguy-at-gmail-dot-com". Please put "Supporting Communities" in the subject line so it doesn't get eaten by the spam bot or something. After that, I'll do some research, and post the article about the NHLPA-approved organization.

"This sounds like an NHLPA marketing campaign."

I realize that it may come across as sounding like that, but it is certainly not intended to be that.

Far too often, all we hear in the media during the off-season is how Player A wants an obscene amount of money to play hockey, and Team A isn't willing to budge from their offer. Far too often, the players and agents are made out to be the bad guys in the negotiations, and that's not always the case.

Instead, this series of articles is to expose the unselfishness of the players in terms of them donating their time to worthy causes that go to making the communities we live in better places. It's about them using their celebrity status to raise funds for worthy causes to help the people that make them into celebrities. It's about giving themselves to an organization they might be passionate about in order to help the fans.

Isn't that the real definition of celebrity? To use that celebrity status to help others who might be less fortunate or in situations beyond their control?

I realize there may be other questions, and if you want them answered, please email me as well. Again, I think this will be a very interesting project for both myself and you, the readers, as we gain a little bit of perspective on some of the NHL players who go out of their way to make life better for all of us. And it's also my way of saying thank you to these players for their unselfishness when it comes to their free time and their off-seasons.

The first one will be posted some time next week, and I'll go from there. I plan on doing a minimum of one per week over the next two-and-a-bit months, and will most likely have several up per week. I am really happy to be writing about this, and I hope it will help these organizations out with some exposure or possibly a few donations from readers.

Until next time, keep your sticks on the ice!

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