TORONTO, Ontario — After the Boston Bruins Stanley Cup win, led by that awesome bearded goalie, Tim Thomas, I’ve taken a mental break from hockey, a two-minute penalty, if you will. Well, maybe just switched over to baseball and the X-Games, instead. But even though it’s the summer offseason for hockey, we still shouldn’t forget how important the NHL is to our communities.
While looking into the NHL’s community outreach programs, one of the most rewarding websites I found was the National Hockey League Player’s Association, which has a number of community based organizations featured on the website, further proving the important role that sports play in our communities.
One of the programs is the NHLPA’s Goals and Dreams Fund, which assists volunteer-based programs that help economically disadvantaged children play the great sport of hockey. The Fund is currently operated by a network of altruistic, current and former NHL players, as well as coaching and managerial staffs. In particular, the Advisory Board guiding the Fund consists of former NHL stars like Paul Henderson, Jyrki Lumme and Pavel Bure, as well as others that never lost touch with their own positive, adolescent experiences. Since 1999, the work of the Goals and Dreams Fund has been extraordinary, raising over $19 million from fans all over North America, giving children an opportunity to play hockey.
But the NHLPA’s charitable services do not end there. Instead, they’re also tackling global issues, like environmentalism, as well as children’s healthcare.
In terms of tackling global warming, the NHLPA has founded the Carbon Neutral Challenge, an organization working in association with NHL players like Andrew Ference and the David Suzuki Association. Starting in 2007, the goal of the organization has been to reduce carbon emissions within the NHL itself. During the 2007/2008 hockey season, 523 players signed on to the proposal. Since then, the numbers have skyrocketed and just a year later, an additional 400 players have signed up. Additionally, several NHL players associated with the Carbon Neutral Challenge, including Ryan Miller and Scott Niedermayer have also outlined their opinions on the website, on a section called “Green Ambassador Stories.”
However, on a larger level, it’s important to recognize what the NHLPA has done for healthcare, as well. The NHL and the NHLPA in particular, have played a very active role in cancer prevention, as well as fundraising for globally significant pediatric care. Since 1998, “Hockey Fights Cancer” has raised an astounding $12 million to help national organizations, as well as local hospitals. They have also partnered with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS), ZERO: The Project to End Prostate Cancer, Project Cancer Canada and the Pancreatic Cancer Action. Through their efforts, they are truly working to make cancer a thing of the past.
With that said, its not just in North America that the NHLPA’s active involvement in healthcare has been seen, especially in Haiti, where help is still desperately needed in order to rebuild the country after the devastating earthquake in 2010. “Hockey for Haiti” is working with former NHL players like P.K. Subban and Georges Laraque, as well as World Vision Canada, in order to help those that still desperately need assistance. With this effort, they are providing prenatal and pediatric care, as well as literacy services to those most in need. In just the past year, the organization is, on average, helping a remarkable 300 children a day and 1.3 million children since its creation!
On the NHLPA’s website, I was especially struck by the “Hockey for Haiti” media release (from July 6, 2011) entitled “Hockey for Haiti: P.K. Subban, Georges Laraque Visit Children’s Hospital in Port-au-Prince.” It’s refreshing to read about P.K. Subban’s involvement with the organization, as well as learning about the Grace Children’s Hospital currently operating in Haiti. Most rewarding about the article was what Subban said about the organization’s existence, when he stated, “It’s great to see Haitian kids getting medical care thanks to the generosity of hockey fans in Canada. The determination of those kids and their families is really inspiring.”
Mr. Subban, we’re sure it truly is inspiring and for that reason, we at The Good In Sports commend the NHLPA for their efforts across the globe and reward them with a Gold Star! After all, it’s not just about hockey, it’s about their roles in society. Kudos to them for making a difference in the lives of so many children.
Copyright © 2011 The Good in Sports, Inc. All rights reserved.