Hockey With A Cause
ALBANY, NY — Most people think of the American Hockey League as the incubator for future National Hockey League stars and with good reason. Approximately 88 percent of today’s NHL players developed their skills in sports towns like Albany. However, there is another side to the AHL. One that goes beyond the 200’ x 85’ sheet of ice.
During the last five years, the Albany Devils have made a major impact in the educational, social and cultural needs of the Capital Region.
“The Devils organization strives to take an active role in the local community,” said Albany Devils CEO Christopher Ciceri. “We have a unique opportunity to use the sport of hockey as a way to make serious change in people’s lives.”
The team’s contribution is not just through countless donations to fundraisers throughout the area, but through involvement during the 35-plus games played in downtown Albany. The Devils community calendar this past year included events like “Mayor Sheehan’s Cash for Coats,” “Bullying Prevention Game,” “Thanksgiving Food Drive,” “Teddy Bear Toss,” “Pucks and Paws,” “Devils Fight Cancer Night,” “Autism Awareness Game” and “Military Appreciation Night.”
By using ticket sales as an avenue to generate proceeds, the Devils raised significant funds for many nonprofits and foundations.
For instance, MacBoston is a group of local firefighters which organized three benefit hockey games played before Devils home contests. Its members sold $15 tickets for admission to both games and $5 of each ticket, plus proceeds from 50-50 and “Chuck-a-Puck,” benefitted various foundations such as the National Fallen Firefighters, Leary Firefighters or Susan G. Komen.
“I look at MacBoston and what that group was able to accomplish during three games this past season,” Ciceri said. “Together, we were able to raise thousands of dollars for three organizations that they decided to support. It was a win-win-win situation for everyone involved.”
The Devils took a similar ticket approach for their March 21 “Devils Fight Cancer Night.” Tickets for the game were $18 and $5 benefitted the Melodies Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at the Bernard and Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center. Additionally, the team raised funds by selling commemorative “Devils Fight Cancer” pucks and by collecting donations at the game. Additionally, the players’ wives hosted a bake sale on the Times Union Center concourse.
“There are so many great causes out there and we will continue to dream up ideas on how we can help them all,” Ciceri said. “We do things not for any reason other than it’s the right thing to do.”
For more information on how your organization can benefit from the Devils community programs contact the Devils Executive Office.