Skip to content

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

Feb 17, 2013, 12:12 PM EST

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. WATCH LIVE: Blues at Capitals

    Feb 1, 2015, 12:47 PM EST

    Washington Capitals v St. Louis Blues Getty Images

    Watch some hockey before a certain big game.

  2. End nearing? Lightning waive Nabokov

    Feb 1, 2015, 12:39 PM EST

    Evgeni Nabokov, Ben Bishop AP

    Andrei Vasilevskiy gets recalled in his place.

  3. Sens’ Methot may not ever top what he did yesterday

    Feb 1, 2015, 9:37 AM EST

    Marc Methot Chris Terry AP

    A big hip check and three assists from the defenseman.

  4. Video: Niemi robs Toews, Sharks hang on to beat the Blackhawks

    Feb 1, 2015, 1:41 AM EST

    Antti Niemi AP

    Got a little help, too. Quick whistle on Toews chances.

  5. Video: Bickell crushes Hannan, physical play picks up in San Jose

    Feb 1, 2015, 12:07 AM EST

    Bryan Bickell Getty Images

    No call. Got a little testy out there after that hit.

  6. Rask, Bruins complete January with impressive victory against Kings

    Jan 31, 2015, 11:17 PM EST

    Tuukka Rask Getty Images

    Boston maintaining their hold on a Wild Card spot.

  7. Leafs scoring slump hits historical low

    Jan 31, 2015, 10:23 PM EST

    Phil Kessel AP

    Maybe February will be better?

  8. Oilers’ Hall (bone bruise) to sit out versus Flames

    Jan 31, 2015, 9:44 PM EST

    Taylor Hall Getty Images

    Battle of Alberta isn’t what it used to be.

  9. Video: Rangers’ Lundqvist takes puck to the neck

    Jan 31, 2015, 8:57 PM EST

    Screen Shot 2015-01-31 at 5.47.56 PM

    Scary moment, but he has stayed in the game.

  10. Wild’s Suter reportedly questionable to play against Canucks

    Jan 31, 2015, 7:43 PM EST

    Boston Bruins v Minnesota Wild

    Starting Sunday, these teams will play each other three times in 16 days.

  11. Loss to Red Wings a ‘wake-up call’ for Islanders

    Jan 31, 2015, 6:19 PM EST

    Jack Capuano AP

    Two losses in a row for the Islanders.

  12. Mike Richards trying to make the best of being sent to the AHL

    Jan 31, 2015, 5:53 PM EST

    Mike Richards Getty Images

    Was put on waivers, cleared, and sent to the minors this week.

Featured video

Kings come back in third to top Blackhawks
Top 10 NHL Player Searches
  1. E. Malkin (3748)
  2. T. Hall (3097)
  3. S. Crosby (2868)
  4. P. Rinne (2669)
  5. C. Price (2643)
  1. M. Brodeur (2613)
  2. M. Richards (2374)
  3. K. Letang (2272)
  4. K. Okposo (2237)
  5. P. Hornqvist (2063)