As the lockout continues, NHL players have tried their best to keep themselves occupied during their down time. Some have decided to take their talents overseas, while others have been sent down to their AHL affiliate. Then there are some who have decided to take a step back from hockey and focus on what is going on outside the hockey world.
One player who has focused on the world outside of hockey is Rangers center and alternate captain Brad Richards. After the tragedy and destruction of Hurricane Sandy, Richards has participated in several charity events to raise money for Sandy relief.
As a result of all his successful charity events, not only has Brad Richards been an unsung hero of the Tri-State area, he can also be considered the MVP of the NHL lockout.
Several events that he has participated in includes a hockey clinic in Staten Island called Skating For Sandy, a charity hockey game called Operation Hat Trick (which he was captain of the New York team), guest bartending at Yellow Hook Grille in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn and volunteering his time to some of the hardest hit parts of New York City.
It is unsure how much money Richards has raised so far, but it is obvious that many of the charity events he has been involved in have been successful.
For example, Operation Hat Trick, which was held in Atlantic City, featured over 30 NHL players (Steven Stamkos, Martin Brodeur and Bobby Ryan, to name a few) and celebrities and was sold-out, with 10,792 people happy to see hockey return even though it was only for one night. When he and teammates Ryan Callahan, Carl Hagelin, Dan Girardi and Marian Gaborik guest bartended, they raised over $15,000. The skating clinic raised another $14,000.
However, it is not all about the publicity to Richards.
“There were no cameras, no one was watching. It was just Brad Richards, down there getting dirty, ankle-deep in water, pouring garbage out of 100-year-old houses," stated former FDNY firefighter Matt Long when Richards helped clean up Breezy Point, a day before Operation Hat Trick.
Even though he has only been a Ranger for about 15 months, he has done so much good for New York and the surrounding states that were affected by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.
Because of this, Brad Richards is not only a leader off the ice, he is the MVP as well.