It will not be a league-sanctioned game, but it will be a game with a cause more important than the end of the NHL lockout.
Millions of people in the Tri-State Area were affected by Hurricane Sandy, and their lives have been forever altered. While many NHL players decided to go overseas to play in the KHL, Brad Richards has remained in New York, and he has been a pillar of support for the local community.
Brad Richards' service to New York the last two weeks has been extraordinary. Seeks no attention, deserves admiration.
— Chris Botta (@ChrisBottaNHL) November 17, 2012
Richards and his teammates have also participated in hockey clinics in the community and other local affairs to help raise funds for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Word broke in the New York Post that a charity game was going to be played involving the Rangers, Flyers and some other NHL players who lived in the affected areas.
Richards and Scott Hartnell will each captain a team during Operation Hat Trick, and the Rangers' alternate captain spoke with Larry Brooks of the Post on what this game means to him:
“I’m part of New York now. I know a lot of people who were affected by the storm, so whatever I can do, and whatever players in the area can do, we’re going to do what we can.
“We’re not playing, but we feel a sense of responsibility to our communities,” said Richards, who will participate in a youth hockey fundraiser at Staten Island this afternoon with at least a half-dozen of his Blueshirt teammates. “It’s a privilege to be in this position, really.”
Expected participants for O.H.T. at this time are Brian Boyle, Jeff Halpern, Steve Eminger, Bobby Ryan, James Neal, Simon Gagne, James van Riemsdyk, Braydon Coburn, John Carlson, Kimmo Timonen, Jody Shelley and Ville Leino.
Henrik Lundqvist will also be flying back to New York from Sweden to participate in the game, as the netminder has been spending time with his wife, Therese, and their four-month-old baby, Charlise.
Henrik Lundqvist will return from Sweden to play in Hurricane Sandy benefit game next Saturday in Atlantic City, goaltender tells Post...
— Larry Brooks(@NYP_Brooksie) November 16, 2012
According to the Post article, the game will be presented by Caesars Atlantic City at Boardwalk Hall next Saturday night, Nov. 24, at 7:00. The event is expected to be a great celebration of hockey and community, and it should lift the spirits of those impacted by Hurricane Sandy.
It will also be great to watch some actual hockey given the fact that the league is currently in the middle of a work stoppage. All players involved in the event should be commended, because it probably would have been very easy for them to go overseas or decline playing in this game.
These players understand that there are larger things at stake, and that as professional athletes, they can be pillars of strength and support in the community. All the proceeds of this game will benefit the Empire State Relief Fund, the New Jersey Relief Fund and the American Red Cross.
If you have not already made a contribution to charity to support the victims of Hurricane Sandy, this is a great way to help out your local community and have a great night out with family, friends and hockey.