Skip to content

Hockey Day in America: How a “mini-Winter Classic” raised money for Sandy relief

Feb 17, 2013, 12:12 PM EDT

Comments Off
A BOY'S WINTER CLASSIC

Today is Hockey Day in America, an all-day celebration of the sport throughout the United States. NBC will air nine hours of live coverage across its networks; here at PHT, we’re taking a look at stories of hockey’s impact across the country.

One of the events lost to the NHL lockout was the annual Winter Classic, which was to be held in Detroit on New Year’s Day.

While the Red Wings and Maple Leafs will now have to wait until 2014 to lace ‘em up outdoors at Michigan Stadium, the idea of playing outdoors spurred one young hockey fan (and player) to do a great thing for charity — this season.

Eight-year-old Christopher John, a player in a Tier 1 league in New Jersey, was inspired to make sure he and his teammates had a Winter Classic of their own if the NHL wasn’t going to play one.

Only this time, they were going to do it to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy, as John Schiumo of NY1.com reported.

“I was at home talking about hockey with my dad, and I was like, ‘Hey, it would be a great thing to come up with our own Winter Classic because we could raise money for Hurricane Sandy victims,’” John said.

“A lot of people lost things that they really loved, like pictures and toys and all that type of stuff,” John said. “I felt sad for the people because they lost a lot.”

John’s team, the North Jersey Avalanche, set up a game against another team affected by the storm, the Long Island Royals. With both of their home areas in tatters thanks to the hurricane, they set their sights on playing outdoors in Central Park.

The players all worked to raise pledges and gain interest in the game by spreading the word about the event.

Little did they know how far the word would get.

On Dec. 23, 2012, their dream became a reality as the teams squared off right smack in the middle of Manhattan, with a couple of famous fans in attendance to help them raise money.

New York Rangers Carl Hagelin and Ryan McDonagh dropped in to show their support for the cause and, as Dan Marrazza from HockeyPrimetime.com shares, they couldn’t wait to help out the kids.

source:  “When we had the opportunity to see these kids play and say ‘hi’ to them, it was a no-brainer for us,” said Hagelin. “We got to go in the locker room to meet the kids on both the teams.

“Both teams were really excited to play the game, and they seemed happy to meet us.”

That day, the teams combined to raise $12,000 for victims of Hurricane Sandy and since then they’ve helped raise another $13,000.

Avalanche coach Tom Duhamel was moved by what the kids did to raise so much money, as Deborah Francisco of NHL.com reported.

“All the kids were affected by the hurricane in one way or another — whether it be as simple as they didn’t have school for a week or whether they had material losses,” Avalanche head coach Tom Duhamel said. “I live in Hoboken where there was $100 million of damage, the kids were affected, too, so they understand how important it was to do this.”

Hockey for healing. That’s not such a bad idea.

This video is no longer available. Click here to watch more NBC Sports videos!
Latest Posts
  1. Gorges still can’t explain falling out of favor in Montreal

    Jul 25, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    joshgorgesgetty Getty Images

    “I wish I had a really good answer — where this came from and why, and how it came about — but I don’t, to be honest.”

  2. Coyotes have high hopes for Gagner after ‘tough couple of years’ in Edmonton

    Jul 25, 2014, 1:01 PM EDT

    Edmonton Oilers v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    “We’re hoping the change of scenery is going to do him good.”

  3. Habs’ St. Pierre heads back to KHL

    Jul 25, 2014, 12:09 PM EDT

    MartinStPierre Getty Images

    But not before having played his first NHL game since 2009-10.

  4. Methot’s new deal with Sens ‘going to be multi-year’

    Jul 25, 2014, 11:11 AM EDT

    MarcMethot Getty Images

    “It’s a fairly simple one because Marc wants to be here,”

  5. Detroit re-signs Ferraro: one year, $550,000

    Jul 25, 2014, 10:13 AM EDT

    LandonFerraro Getty Images

    The 32nd overall pick at the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

  6. Deschamps agrees to terms with Finnish squad

    Jul 25, 2014, 9:00 AM EDT

    Nicolas Deschamps Getty Images

    He made his NHL debut with Washington last season.

  7. ‘Hawks 2011 first-round pick Danault told to emulate Kruger

    Jul 24, 2014, 11:08 PM EDT

    Phillip Danault Getty Images

    In other words, they want him to be a shutdown center

  8. Julien points to Eriksson as answer to Iginla departure

    Jul 24, 2014, 10:14 PM EDT

    louierikssongetty Getty Images

    Eriksson’s looking to bounce back after suffering two concussions last season.

  9. Booth eager to prove he ‘can play in this League again’

    Jul 24, 2014, 9:06 PM EDT

    NEWARK, NJ - OCTOBER 24: David Booth #7 of the Vancouver Canucks skates against the New Jersey Devils at the Prudential Center on October 24, 2013 in Newark, New Jersey. The Canucks defeated the Devils 3-2 in the shootout. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) Getty Images

    He’ll get a fresh start after struggling with Vancouver.

  10. Jets re-sign Ellerby despite not qualifying him

    Jul 24, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    Keaton Ellerby Getty Images

    He’s coming back after testing the free agent waters.

  11. Flames sign Ortio for two more years

    Jul 24, 2014, 5:53 PM EDT

    Joni Ortio Getty Images

    He started in nine games for the Flames last season.

  12. Vancouver signs ’14 first-rounder Jared McCann

    Jul 24, 2014, 4:42 PM EDT

    Jared McCann Getty Images

    The Canucks selected him with one of the picks they got from the Ryan Kesler trade.

  13. Eller, Habs agree to four-year, $14 million contract

    Jul 24, 2014, 3:31 PM EDT

    Lars Eller Getty Images

    The two sides managed to avoid arbitration despite a $1.45 million gap on a one-year deal.

  14. B’s re-sign Warsofsky: one year, $600,000

    Jul 24, 2014, 3:15 PM EDT

    DavidWarsofsky Getty Images

    Alternately known as “the guy Boston got for Vladimir Sobotka.”

  15. Veteran NHLer Pyatt signs in Swiss league

    Jul 24, 2014, 2:19 PM EDT

    Taylor Pyatt

    Journeyman split last season between the Rangers and Penguins.

  16. Avs ‘confident’ they’ll reach deal with Barrie, says Sakic

    Jul 24, 2014, 1:20 PM EDT

    Tyson Barrie #4 of the Colorado Avalanche and head coach Patrick Roy appear on the bench during their preseason game against the Los Angeles Kings at the MGM Grand Garden Arena on September 28, 2013 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Colorado won 3-2.
(September 27, 2013 - Source: Ethan Miller/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

    Offensive d-man led all Colorado blueliners in goals last year, with 13.

  17. Isles, Poulin avoid arbitration with one-year, two-way deal

    Jul 24, 2014, 12:22 PM EDT

    Kevin Poulin

    He’s likely to be the No. 3 goalie in New York this year.

  18. Bruins name Sacco assistant coach

    Jul 24, 2014, 11:26 AM EDT

    Joe Sacco AP

    Former Colorado bench boss and Massachusetts native returns home.

Featured video

Bettman hears the boos in Philly
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. S. Crosby (1930)
  2. L. Stempniak (1784)
  3. D. Roy (1512)
  4. A. Rome (1368)
  5. C. Franson (1350)
  1. R. O'Reilly (1349)
  2. D. Booth (1236)
  3. R. Nash (1150)
  4. P. Subban (1078)
  5. M. Ribeiro (1045)