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. Flyers counting on MacDonald to play huge role

    Sep 22, 2014, 10:02 AM EDT

    Andrew MacDonald Getty Images

    He’ll get tougher assignments with Kimmo Timonen sidelined indefinitely.

  2. Iginla has ‘real good chemistry’ with Duchene

    Sep 22, 2014, 8:58 AM EDT

    Matt Duchene, Jarome Iginla AP

    Colorado is counting on the duo to be very effective this season.

  3. Sharks say Scott adds ‘element of security’

    Sep 21, 2014, 11:05 PM EDT

    John Scott AP

    Head coach Todd McLellan thinks he can play, at least.

  4. Canes’ LaRose explains hiatus: ‘I fell out of love with the sport’

    Sep 21, 2014, 10:10 PM EDT

    Florida Panthers v Carolina Hurricanes Getty Images

    “But sometimes you have to lose what you have to realize what you had.”

  5. Injuries piling up as preseason schedule begins

    Sep 21, 2014, 9:40 PM EDT

    New York Rangers v Philadelphia Flyers - Game Four Getty Images

    Players nursing bumps and bruises as camps wrap.

  6. Wild’s Yeo is already getting excited about Vanek

    Sep 21, 2014, 7:31 PM EDT

    Wild Vanek Hockey AP

    “He’s thinking usually two or three plays ahead.”

  7. It sure seems like Byfuglien would rather play on Jets’ D

    Sep 21, 2014, 6:09 PM EDT

    Winnipeg Jets v San Jose Sharks Getty Images

    “God, defense was just so much fun though.”

  8. Report: Coyotes assess first-rounder Perlini’s broken hand

    Sep 21, 2014, 4:49 PM EDT

    Arizona Coyotes Rookie Camp Getty Images

    The team’s still trying to determine if surgery is necessary.

  9. Sens play it safe with Ryan after he collides with Turris

    Sep 21, 2014, 3:48 PM EDT

    Brandon Sutter, Bobby Ryan AP

    He won’t play in either of Ottawa’s Monday exhibitions games.

  10. Flyers’ Laughton likely headed to Lehigh Valley

    Sep 21, 2014, 3:02 PM EDT

    ScottLaughton Getty Images

    Seasoning in the AHL should serve the 20-year-old well.

  11. Schenn moves to center in Philadelphia

    Sep 21, 2014, 11:30 AM EDT

    Brayden Schenn Getty Images

    With Giroux out, Craig Berube juggles lines.

  12. Hemsky adjusting to life in Dallas

    Sep 21, 2014, 10:31 AM EDT

    Toronto Maple Leafs v Ottawa Senators Getty Images

    Not at Oilers camp for the first time in his career.

  13. Jenner at center begins Sunday

    Sep 21, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    Boone Jenner #38 of the Columbus Blue Jackets skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on October 5, 2013 in Uniondale, New York. The Blue Jackets defeated the Islanders 3-2 in the shootout.
(October 4, 2013 - Source: Bruce Bennett/Getty Images North America) Getty Images

    Columbus looking at options with Johansen not at camp.

  14. Report: Johansen has gotten no shortage of KHL offers

    Sep 20, 2014, 11:36 PM EDT

    Columbus Blue Jackets  v Pittsburgh Penguins - Game Two Getty Images

    The restricted free agent seems to be at an impasse with Columbus.

  15. Merrill day-to-day with ‘wind taken out of him’ after head hit

    Sep 20, 2014, 11:01 PM EDT

    Jon Merrill Getty Images

    Devils GM Lou Lamoriello said he’s “fine,” but he initially said the same of Clowe when the player had a concussion.

  16. Versteeg looks to rebound from ‘brutal’ finish to 2013-14

    Sep 20, 2014, 10:05 PM EDT

    Los Angeles Kings v Chicago Blackhawks - Game Two Getty Images

    The knee injury he sustained during the lockout shortened season might be partially to blame for his struggles.

  17. Luongo’s ‘mind is at ease’ in Florida

    Sep 20, 2014, 9:07 PM EDT

    Roberto Luongo Getty Images

    That’s after years of being the center of a goaltending controversy in Vancouver.

Sign up for Fantasy hockey

Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. B. Ryan (1180)
  2. C. Giroux (1139)
  3. J. Drouin (1135)
  4. J. Quick (1094)
  5. N. Horton (1068)