A Nice Case of Warm Fuzzies: The NHL Outreach to Hurricane Sandy-Affected Areas

By Emma Harger
A John Tavares jersey is among the items the Islanders are auctioning for charity. Danny Wild-US PRESSWIRE

It’s been kind of a bad week for negotiations to end the NHL lockout and people are starting to feel pretty negatively. In this climate, it can be difficult to find positive things to write about or read about when it comes to the top-tier league.

But in the parts of the country so badly wounded by Hurricane Sandy, where some people have been told their lights won’t be back on until Thanksgiving and people are still working to put the pieces back together, NHL players and teams are pitching in to help.

The New York Islanders are holding a big auction with 100 percent of proceeds going to the American Red Cross. Among the items for bidding: an autographed John Tavares jersey, all-access experiences to the Brooklyn Nets (the Islanders’ co-tenants of the Barclays Center starting in 2015), a Jay-Z Nets jersey, Disney and Carrie Underwood event tickets and even items donated by the Islanders’ area rivals, the New Jersey Devils and New York Rangers.

Also, Nassau Coliseum recently hosted a supplies drive and contribution event, thanking generous fans by letting them skate with team coaches and staff and play fun games around the ice’s edge.

Speaking of the Rangers, they put on a charity hockey clinic just for kids in what ESPN New York’s Katie Strang called a cool event and a “nice change of pace from the doom and gloom of Lockout-land.” The Rangers also donated items to be raffled off for the benefit of the Red Cross and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, including items signed by Brian Leetch and Mark Messier.

Devils owner Jeff Vanderbeek has opened the Prudential Center ice to a high school, East Side High, for their hockey team to use. They usually use the ice at a recreation center, but the ice there is still not down yet. East Side’s program is part of Hockey in Newark, a Devils-sponsored program to help bring the game even further into the city.

Devils player Cam Janssen helped organize a charity game with he and some of the guys he played with back in St. Louis, all proceeds going to New York and New Jersey-area first responders. A Devils alumni charity game featuring Ken Daneyko, John MacLean, Sergei Brylin, Grant Marshall and Bruce Driver happened too, with its proceeds benefiting a fund set up by the state’s First Lady and a county food bank.

Plus, the team set up a one stop shop website for finding help, information and donation links throughout the state. Along with the sometimes nigh-herculean efforts of Newark mayor Cory Booker to help his constituents, the Devils are really giving back to their community.

It’s especially nice to know that, even though the players are locked out and know that charitable efforts tied to NHL teams are feeling a tough pinch right now. they are taking time out to help their fellow men, women and children. Keep up the good work, Islanders, Rangers and Devils.

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