While NHL lockout talks go back-and-forth again and again, we remain stranded outside our favorite arenas with our hands tied.
This week we urge you to untie those hands and lend them to a more charitable hockey cause. The hockey community is a strong one, and we’ve seen fans, players, coaches, etc. all come together to help when need be. It is the season of giving, so let’s find some ways you can help give, whether it be time, money, or just words of kindness, every little bit helps!
During the holidays most leagues and organizations will put on charity or alumni games to help raise money for various needs. A lot of these events include silent auctions, raffles, autographs from hockey legends; the list goes on and on. Ticket sales from youth charity games often go towards scholarship funds for those kids who have a passion for the game and need assistance to be able to play (hockey is mighty expensive).
Check out your local youth organizations, stop by the ice rinks, wherever you can, and find out what is going on. There is a continual need for volunteers at these events, so fill your heart with warmth while you fill their cups with hot chocolate. This is a tremendously fun way to get involved and watch some hockey!
Almost a year ago, the story of Jack Jablonski, a 16-year-old high school sophomore from Minnesota, touched the hearts of hockey families, and sports media journalists everywhere. Jablonski was checked from behind and suffered a paralyzing neck injury that doctors have said would cost him the ability to walk- much less skate- for the remainder of his life.
Jabs, as he’s called, was immediately flooded with outreach support from the community.
Jabs was awarded the CBS Courage in Sports 2012 America’s Choice Honoree. He continues to put on a happy smile as he works towards being able to walk (and skate) again one day. Follow Jabs on Twitter @Jabs_13 and read more about how you can help at www.jabby13.com.
This touching story about Chris Kushneriuk was sent in by a Babes Dig Balls reader, and we’d like to share it with you via the website Chris Kushneriuk.org.
“Chris Kushneriuk only appeared in 22 regular season games and 15 postseason contests with the Wheeling Nailers, but his impact was felt in a big way. On the ice, fans in the Ohio Valley will most remember him for his overtime goal in game seven of Wheeling’s second round playoff series win against the Greenville Road Warriors. Off the ice, they know a person who put all others before himself, making for a proud citizen.
Late in the 2011-12 season, after battling an injury, Chris got the news that no one wants to hear. He was diagnosed with cancer. Although it appeared that the 25-year old had beaten it, the recent news hasn’t been as positive, and Chris has found himself in yet another upward battle. However, Kushneriuk remains upbeat that he will come out on top once again. To do so he must now travel to Indianapolis in order to receive treatments that will ultimately save his life. Unfortunately with no insurance in the United States his medical expenses will be extraordinarily large, therefore needing all the financial support he can get.
Upon hearing the news, the current Wheeling Nailers players took the immediate initiative to support their former teammate. Chris Barton, Cody Chupp, Paul Crowder, Ben Farrer, Zach Hansen, Patrick Killeen, Denver Manderson, Peter Merth, Christiaan Minella, and Zack Torquato all shared the dressing room with Kushneriuk in the 2011-12 campaign, and got the rest of their active teammates on board.
During a pair of recent home games at WesBanco Arena, the players took it upon themselves to set up a table in the main concourse, in which they accepted donations for Kushneriuk’s cause. The players also did their due diligence in the community, accepting donations at local area restaurants on Black Friday. In just three days of collecting, over $2,651 was raised for the graduate of Robert Morris University.
While the $2,651 is a phenomenal start, the Nailers will be continuing to raise money for Chris. There are two jerseys that will be up for auction on the internet – one signed by the Wheeling Nailers, and one donated by former head coach Stan Drulia, signed by the AHL’s Milwaukee Admirals. Please support our efforts in helping Chris win this battle. All donations raised will be used for his hospital expenses. On behalf of Chris, his family, friends, and the Wheeling Nailers, we appreciate all the support you can give.”
We wish Kushneriuk all the best in a full recovery. Follow Kushneriuk on Twitter @StoneColdKush.
Babes Dig Balls knows that there are many more stories out there and numerous ways the hockey community needs help.