Jarome Iginla and the Nicest Guys in the NHL
One of the things we as hockey fans love about our favorite sport is the character of many of our players.
While other major sports have a lot of athletes trying to hog the spotlight or getting into legal troubles, the opposite is true in hockey. The majority of hockey players are as humble as they come, and many contribute to worthy causes in the community.
This slideshow honors those players. Forget about statistics and the salary cap for right now and just take a look at what these guys have done to better the cities they are playing in, or what they have done for the fans who watch them in person and on television.
If you are moved to join any of the players in the various causes they support, I am happy to provide links to websites where you can send donations. Even if you just donate one dollar, you are doing something good for a group of people who need it.
This list is in no order, as I didn't feel it was fair to rank charitable contributions. The only order the players are in is alphabetical according to their team name.
Here is a look at some of the nicest guys in the NHL.
Honorable Mention: Derek Boogaard, New York Rangers
There's no way I could have done this piece and not included a nod to Derek Boogaard, the popular Wild and Rangers enforcer who was feared on the ice but was one of the nicest guys once he took off his gear.
Boogaard's most notable project was Defending the Blue Line, an organization which allows children of military families to play hockey. The group encourages participation in hockey by providing equipment, running hockey camps and providing financial assistance to families who need it.
While with the Rangers this past season, Boogaard created Boogaard's Booguardians, an initiative which provided Rangers tickets to military members and their families. He also participated in an event with the Garden of Dreams foundation where Rangers players went to Build-a-Bear with kids in the program to create stuffed animals.
Despite the fact that his new home was to be in New York, Boogaard loved Minnesota and was loved by the residents of the area. He also still kept an apartment there.
There are two ways you can honor Boogaard's memory through Defending the Blue Line. You can go to their website and click on "donate" at the top of the page, then select "donate in honor or memory of...", which will then take you to the page to donate in Boogaard's memory. You can also wait and purchase a memorial t-shirt through Glass Bangers t-shirts, and all proceeds through the shirt sales will go to Defending the Blue Line.
George Parros, Anaheim Ducks
Parros has become famous for more than his fists while with Anaheim. His mustache and hair are also iconic among the Ducks community, and Parros takes advantage of it for a good cause.
The Ducks team store at Honda Center sells Parros mustaches, which are fake attachable mustaches, and all proceeds go to charity. He also sells a line of merchandise called "Stache Gear" to benefit the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation. The organization contributes resources to organizations to help get sports programs set up in inner cities.
Every year, Parros gets a haircut and donates his locks to charities such as Locks of Love that designs wigs for patients who have lost their hair due to medical conditions. He grows his hair out and usually chops his locks around Christmas.
If you want to check out Parros' Stache Gear line, you can go to the official website, where he also provides information on his favorite charities.
Teemu Selanne, Anaheim Ducks
Selanne set up the Teemu Selanne Youth Sports Foundation, which provides opportunities for kids who otherwise cannot afford organized sports to participate. The program also teaches kids how to be responsible citizens and supports the health of communities.
Each year, he sponsors a golf tournament to raise funds for youth sports teams and, this year, he also hosted a celebrity poker tournament to benefit his foundation.
Selanne also has a reputation for performing random acts of kindness for his fans. He has dropped off signed sticks at fans' homes, and after a game he signed autographs for waiting fans even though he had to drop off a friend of his at his friend's car. Once he dropped off his friend, he returned and apologized for keeping the group waiting, then proceeded to sign.
At the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, Selanne took notice of a sign made by an eight-year-old fan named Spencer David, who congratulated Selanne on setting an Olympic record and asked for a puck. Selanne fulfilled Spencer's wish and then gave him another puck at a Ducks game where he was honored for scoring his 600th career goal. Spencer had another sign with him that time that read "Mr. Selanne, thank you for the Olympic memories."
The boy hadn't even asked for a puck at that Ducks game, but Selanne was honored to do him a favor regardless.
Andrew Ference, Boston Bruins
Ference has gained a reputation for being dedicated to helping the environment.
He created a carbon-neutral program for the NHL and encouraged over 500 players to purchase carbon offset credits to prevent negative environmental effects on professional sports. He has influenced sports teams such as the Phoenix Coyotes to use biodegradable utensils at concession stands, and he has met with leaders at other companies to discuss ways for businesses to become environmentally responsible.
Ference's commitment carries over into his personal life. He owns a hybrid car but, if weather permits, he will leave the car at home and bike to Bruins games. He also takes the T, Boston's public transportation system, if he is able. In addition, he keeps a compost pile at his house and eats organic food.
Derek Roy, Buffalo Sabres
Roy is an avid supporter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, which is dedicated to finding a cure for juvenile diabetes and its complications.
Back in 2009, he participated in an autograph signing to benefit the Kids Escaping Drugs (KED) campaign, which creates programs for drug treatment for adolescent kids in Western New York. Also, each year since 2004, he has held a golf tournament to benefit various charities such as Children's Hospital of Eastern Ontario.
He was also the celebrity chairman for the 2010 Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation golf tournament.
Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres
Miller started the Steadfast Foundation, a charity which provides resources to children fighting cancer. He also has a program called Saves for Cancer, in which he donates $50 for every save he makes during the season to Roswell Park Cancer Institute, a facility dedicated to cancer care, research and education.
This year, he rolled out a cereal called Kick Save Krunch, and portions from the sale of each box went towards the Steadfast Foundation.
Miller also hosts an annual charity event called Catwalk for Charity, where Sabres players put on a fashion show with different themes. The night also features live music and live and silent auctions.
Jarome Iginla, Calgary Flames
If you spend enough time doing some reading, you'll find that there is nobody who has had a bad thing to say about Flames captain Jarome Iginla.
One of Iginla's most well known acts of kindness came during the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. He was speaking to a group of Calgary fans and found out they were sleeping in their car outside of the hotel. Iginla stepped away for a minute and, when he came back, he informed the fans that he had paid for a hotel room in the same hotel where his family was staying.
Even more impressive, after Calgary's loss to the Ducks in the 2006 playoffs, he stayed afterwards signing autographs and having conversations with the fans who had waited for him.
Each year, he operates the Jarome Iginla Hockey School and donates all proceeds to the Diabetes Research Association. He is also the spokesperson for the NHL's Diversity Program.
During the season, he donates $2,000 for each goal he scores to KidSport, an organization which provides support to kids who want to play sports, but have financial barriers that prevent them from doing so.
Last month, he visited Canadian troops stationed in Afghanistan with Stephen Harper, Canada's prime minister.
Cam Ward, Carolina Hurricanes
Ward is the Hurricanes' King Clancy Trophy nominee for the second time in his career. The King Clancy recognizes players who have made outstanding off-ice contributions to their communities.
Ward's favorite charity to work with is the Special Olympics, and he also participates in visits to the North Carolina Children's Hospital. He has an organization called Cam's Champs, which donates a suite at the RBC Center to various charitable groups to use at Hurricanes games.
Brian Campbell, Chicago Blackhawks
Campbell set up an organization called Campbell for Kids, which serves children with special needs and learning disabilities. Campbell for Kids has a partnership with Autism Speaks, the largest autism advocacy and science organization. Autism Speaks raises awareness about forms of autism and gives information about prevention and treatment.
Campbell's foundation has helped put together tool kits about autism for families, doctors and educators about new diagnoses and Asperger's syndrome, a high functioning form of autism. Through this project, the number of kits handed out in the Chicago area has increased by 140 percent.
Campbell for Kids also raised money to build a playground and sports area for kids at the Beard School in Chicago. The elementary school provides educational programs for disabled students, including those with autism.
Jake Dowell, Chicago Blackhawks
This past season, Dowell was a positive influence in the life of Griffin Bohan, a five-year-old boy from Illinois who had an incurable form of brain cancer.
Griffin's wish was to meet one of the players from the Blackhawks, and Dowell drove to the Bohan house to meet with the boy. There, he presented him with an autographed puck from team captain Jonathan Toews and spent time talking to him. He also hosted them at a Blackhawks home game against the Colorado Avalanche.
Sadly, Griffin passed away on New Year's Day 2011. Puck Daddy posted a video from NBC Chicago about Dowell's and Griffin's bond, and if you want to see Griffin's story you can go to the post, which is from this past December.
Dowell is also an advocate for research for Huntington's Disease, an illness which affects his father and brother. While playing for the Rockford Ice Hogs, Chicago's AHL affiliate, he participated in a bowling tournament which helped raise money for a Huntington's Disease center in Rockford.
Kyle Quincey, Colorado Avalanche
Quincey is a part of an organization called House 9 Hockey. The organization was co-founded by Aaron Downey, Quincey's former teammate from the Detroit Red Wings. It provides equipment and pays registration fees for underprivileged kids who want to play hockey. Each year, he participates in a charity hockey game with the organization.
In 2008, Quincey became somewhat of a hero in Detroit during a "Faceoff Rocks" celebration in the Motor City; a party to celebrate the start of the 2008-09 season. During the party, Def Leppard singer Joe Elliott raised the Cup high, just as a celebrating player would do, but when he put the Cup down, he turned it upside down, with the bottom high in the air and the bowl on the stool.
Quincey couldn't believe what he had just seen and turned the Cup back to its rightful position. He felt Elliott's gesture was disrespectful to the Cup, and Elliott tried to claim he didn't know any better.
If you want to donate to House 9 Hockey, you can go to their website, and the option to donate will be on the right hand side of the page. You can either donate online using PayPal or print out a form to fill out and send a check to the organization.
Rick Nash, Columbus Blue Jackets
Nash won the 2009 NHL Player Foundation Award, which recognizes players who have used values learned from hockey towards their work in the community.
Nash is active in a wide range of community projects in Columbus. He buys glass seats for Blue Jackets games and donates them to charities to use. He has formed the No. 61 club, which donates tickets to kids who participate in a physical fitness program.
At Christmas time, he helps families through the Santa's Silent Helpers initiative, which provides food and toys to 50 needy families recommended for the program through area churches. He also visits Nationwide Children's Hospital.
In addition, although he does not have any ties to Ohio State, he funds an athletic scholarship for up to six figures at the school.
A touching story published in The Columbus Dispatch back in 2007 went into great detail on Nash's charity work, but did not use his name in the story. Nash told the reporter doing the story that he is a private person and does not like to draw a lot of attention to his good acts. In fact, he does not even turn up at Ohio State football programs where donors are honored for their contributions.
Anyone can do charity work with the cameras on, but a guy like Nash, who does it with the cameras off, reveals a lot into his true character.
Brad Richards, Dallas Stars
While Richards was playing with the Tampa Bay Lightning, he rented a suite at the St. Petersburg Times Forum for use by pediatric cancer patients and their families. He then met with these special fans after the game. He has continued the tradition since arriving in Dallas.
During his time with the Stars, he has supplied tickets for kids receiving treatment through the Children's Medical Center Oncology Department. He also donates Stars tickets to military members.
In September 2010, he made a $500,000 donation to Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. The donation, which was made in memory of his cousin who died from a brain tumor, will be used to purchase medical equipment for kids.
Richards also runs the Brad Richards Foundation, which supports kids with illnesses and advancement of youth sports. He holds a golf tournament each summer to raise money for the foundation and, this past year, he held a fundraiser to help expand the Cancer Center at Children's Medical Center in Dallas.
Justin Abdelkader, Detroit Red Wings
This past Christmas, Abdelkader joined teammates in a Salvation Army bell ringing competition against Red Wings coaches and teammates. The players beat their coaches by raising $2,900 for the Salvation Army.
He also joined Drew Miller to present a check to the Sparrow Hospital Children's Center. While at the hospital, he also met with kids in the playroom on the pediatric ward. The donation was made possible through the Spartan Buddies program, an initiative at Michigan State to bring volunteers to the children's center. Both Miller and Abdelkader played college hockey for the Spartans.
Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings
Lidstrom, a nominee for the 2011 Mark Messier Leadership Award, has been active in the Detroit community for several years.
Prior to the start of this season, he met with military veterans at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans. He also visited an elementary school as part of the Wings' community relations tour and as part of a youth hockey development program. In addition, he is the team spokesperson for the annual breast cancer awareness night.
Back in 2008, Lidstrom granted a wish for a child from the Make-a-Wish foundation, who was also named Nick. Nick, a 14-year-old cancer patient, was treated to a tour of Joe Louis arena and got to watch the Red Wings' morning skate. After practice, he got to skate on the ice with Lidstrom and was given autographs by the rest of the team as well as tickets to that night's game.
Gilbert Brule, Edmonton Oilers
Last year, Brule became one of many Canadians who was touched by the story of Maddox Flynn, a two-year-old boy who suffered from a rare facial deformity called lymphatic cystic hygroma. Maddox needed one of several surgeries to fix the problem, but the surgery could not be performed in Edmonton and his family would have to take him to New York City.
Brule promptly donated $10,000 to a fund set up, and he went the extra mile by planning a trip to New York to see Maddox before the surgery. He was committed to making the boy's day and even wanted to bring him some gifts to take his mind off the procedure.
The operation ended up going well and, although Maddox has a long road of him, Brule's act of generosity won't soon be forgotten.
Shawn Matthias, Florida Panthers
Back in March, Matthias joined teammate Jack Skille to shave his head for St. Baldrick's, an organization which funds childhood cancer research. The Panthers backed both players by launching a full promotional campaign on television and radio.
He also joined several other Panthers players at Evert Children's Hospital to visit with patients and hand out Halloween gift baskets from Party City. Before the season started, he participated in a charity date auction to raise money for the Make-a-Wish foundation, and he ended up being auctioned off for $1,500. He raised the most money out of any of the other bachelors and bachelorettes, which included a Panthers ice dancer and a Fox Sports Florida reporter.
Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Kings
Brown is a two-time nominee for the Kings' community service award and has also been nominated for the NHL Foundation Player Award twice.
This season, he partnered with KaBOOM!, an organization which builds playgrounds for kids. He led a design team for one such playground in the Los Angeles area.
He also started a hit tracker, where he agreed to donate $50 for every hit to the Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit at Children's Hospital in Los Angeles. Brown wanted to become involved with the unit after seeing how his son Mason, who was born prematurely in 2009, was cared for. He ended up finishing the season with 300 hits, which resulted in a $15,000 donation to the unit.
Brown has also encouraged his teammates to donate to earthquake relief in Haiti and hosted a child through the Make-a-Wish foundation. He gave the child a tour of the Kings training center and presented him with a basket of Kings memorabilia.
Others have noticed how Brown does not rush through his charity work and gives personal attention to the children he is helping. It is something Brown wants to commit himself to, and there is no reason to think he will stop anytime soon.
Jose Theodore, Minnesota Wild
While Theodore was playing for the Capitals, he started a foundation called Saves for Kids to raise money for the neonatal intensive care unit at Children's National Medical Center in Washington, D.C. It was something close to Theodore's heart, as he had lost a son from complications related to premature birth.
Theodore decided to donate two dollars for every save, $100 for every win and $500 for every shutout. In the playoffs, he increased the amount to five dollars for every save, $200 for every win, $750 for every shutout and $500 for every playoff round the Capitals won.
When the 2009-10 season was all said and done, Theodore had raised over $35,000 for the unit.
He was also awarded the 2010 Masterton Trophy.
James Wisniewski, Montreal Canadiens
Wisniewski started a clothing line called Wiz Wear, which benefits the USO of Illinois for families of fallen soldiers. He was inspired to raise money for the military through his grandfathers, who both served in World War II.
Wiz Wear carries both men's and women's apparel, hats and items autographed by Wisniewski. The clothing line pays a nod to his Polish heritage and also shows a flair for sports.
To learn more about the line, you can visit the Wiz Wear website.
Mike Fisher, Nashville Predators
Fisher is a devoted Christian and spends his summers working with hockey camps through Hockey Ministries International. The organization provides hockey camps with a Christian message and offers outreach events with testimonies and chapel programs for support.
While Fisher was playing for the Ottawa Senators, he was part of a group of Senators players that bonded with a young boy named Elgin Fraser. The three-year-old boy had a form of cancer known as neuroblastoma. Fisher visited Elgin at home to play with him and talk with him, and even spoke with him on the phone.
Elgin died the night the Senators clinched a spot in the 2007 Stanley Cup Finals. He paid attention to the game even as he was in his last moments. Fisher was one of the Senators who served as a pallbearer for Elgin's funeral.
You can donate to Hockey Ministries International by going to their website and clicking the "donate" tab at the top of the page. The organization is only accepting online donations at this time.
Zach Parise, New Jersey Devils
Parise is a Library Champion for New Jersey's public library system, which promotes the importance of reading to children. He has given up his time to read to students.
He also recently announced that he plans on donating a pair of his skates to a charity auction for Soles 4 Souls. Soles 4 Souls is an organization that provides shoes to people in need. The auction will benefit Japan earthquake and tsunami relief.
Josh Bailey, New York Islanders
Bailey started the "Bailey's Buddies" program this season. Through the program, he hosts sick or underprivileged kids at Islanders home games. Each child gets to high-five the team as they come out for warmups and gets to sit near where the Isles take the ice. They also get an Islanders gift bag, which includes a Bailey player t-shirt and the opportunity to meet the Isles forward after the game.
Zenon Konopka, New York Islanders
Konopka owns a company called Prime Wine Products which sells Vin-Aire, a product to expedite the decanting process of red wine.
He has used his off-ice project to partner with the Islanders Children's Foundation, which supports organizations that provide opportunities to children in the areas of health, education and youth hockey development.
For every Vin-Aire sold, Konopka donates $10 to the foundation.
Vin-Aire is available through Vin-Aire.com
Marian Gaborik, New York Rangers
Gaborik opened a hockey rink in his hometown of Trencin, Slovakia. The construction cost was about $2 million and was given the "Construction of the Year" award by the city.
The rink features an ice rink, a cafe, a fitness center and accommodations for participants in Gaborik's hockey camps. Gaborik attends his hockey camps at the rink each year and takes time to meet with all of the kids involved.
He also started the Marian Gaborik Foundation to promote and grow youth sports.
Chris Phillips, Ottawa Senators
This past winter, Phillips participated in an event called Tremblant 24h. It is an event put on by Mont Tremblant ski resort where participants are in a skiing marathon for a 24 hour period. Phillips was in the event, which raised money for the Senators Foundation and a childhood cancer support organization called Candlelighters, with his wife Erin.
Phillips was also part of a support network for Elgin Fraser, who was previously discussed in the slide on Mike Fisher. He was the one who originally arranged for Elgin to attend a Sens practice, and he was also present at Elgin's funeral.
Jason Spezza, Ottawa Senators
Spezza came up with the idea for a literacy initiative called "Spelling with Spezza," which happens each school year in Ottawa area elementary schools. The program teaches students the importance of spelling, and teachers get a chance to sign up and implement the lessons in their classrooms. Students who improve their spelling grades or get a perfect score in the subject are eligible for prizes such as Spezza posters, Senators tickets or a class visit with the Senators forward.
In addition to holding an annual golf tournament to support children's charities, Spezza also donates to the Ronald McDonald House, which gives a home away from home to families who need to stay with children who are hospitalized. The charities also support programs to ensure the well-being of children.
You can donate to the Ronald McDonald House Charities at their donation page, and the website does a good job of breaking down where your donation is going.
Daniel Briere, Philadelphia Flyers
Briere's fans support him through the Briere Bunch, a website which promotes Breire's charity work and sells baseball hats through a fundraising initiative called "Caps for Charity." The proceeds from the sales go to Camp Good Days and Special Times, which sponsors both summer camps and year-round activities for childhood cancer patients.
During the most recent World Juniors tournament in Buffalo, New York, Briere donated 15 tickets to a center ice luxury suite at HSBC arena for kids fighting cancer and their families. In addition, Briere paid for hotel rooms for every family in attendance.
You too can support Briere's charities through the following websites:
Briere's Bunch website to purchase one of the baseball hats.
Donation page for Camp Good Days, which gives you several options for donations.
Paul Bissonnette, Phoenix Coyotes
That's right. Paul Bissonnette, probably the most politically incorrect hockey player to ever grace Twitter, actually has a soft side.
Bissonnette has always felt he should do something to help homeless people get back on their feet. He has bought them food and occasionally given them money. He has urged others to do the same, saying that we do not know their stories and should be willing to help rather than feel like they should go away.
After losing his original Twitter account over controversial remarks about Ilya Kovalchuk, he teamed up with Sauce Hockey to sell t-shirts to benefit Arizona homeless shelters. The shirts were immediately in high demand, and now Sauce Hockey carries a "Biznasty Line."
During the season, Bissonnette spent his Thanksgiving serving homeless people Thanksgiving meals. At a December game, he hosted 100 guests from the CASS homeless shelter.
If you want to buy one of the Biznasty shirts, check out Sauce Hockey, where you can get a shirt with a funny saying and contribute to a good cause.
You can also donate to CASS by going to their website and clicking on "donate" on the right hand side.
Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes
Doan won the 2010 King Clancy Trophy and is nominated for the 2011 Mark Messier Leadership Award.
During his time in Phoenix, Doan has worked with numerous organizations such as United Blood Services and the Phoenix Children's Hospital. He has also worked with Phoenix Rescue Mission, which provides resources such as food, clothing and shelter to homeless people. They also offer emergency services and addiction recovery programs and are working on the Changing Lives Center for women and children.
Doan has also helped out at Children First Academy, a school for homeless children in kindergarten through eighth grade.
In addition, he helps out with Coyotes team projects such as delivering Christmas presents to children at Phoenix Children's Hospital.
Here are some places to donate to charities Doan supports:
Phoenix Children's Hospital giving page.
The Phoenix Rescue Mission accepts donations online and over the phone, and you can also mail the organization a check.
Children First Academy explains how your donations are used.
Sidney Crosby, Pittsburgh Penguins
Crosby has made an impact on the Pittsburgh community since joining the Penguins in 2005. He purchased a charity suite at Mellon Arena and has one at the new Consol Energy Center that is used by various children's charities.
He has also been at the forefront of the Little Penguins Learn to Play program. Crosby, along with Reebok and Dick's Sporting Goods, donated sets of equipment to children ages four through seven to get involved in hockey. There are several different sessions for children in the program, and they sell out very quickly.
In addition, he donated the bonus from his gold medal at the 2010 Olympics to charity.
Crosby is also one of the players always willing to interact with fans. In a DVD about him made after the 2008 playoffs, one of the stories told is about how a little boy wanted Crosby's autograph following a road loss. The child was turned down by someone with the team, but Crosby knew about the boy.
When Crosby asked about the child, he requested that the child send him the shirt he wanted signed in the mail. Crosby said he would sign the shirt and send it back.
The idea of getting something in the mail from a favorite player had to make that little boy's day.
Max Talbot, Pittsburgh Penguins
Last summer, Talbot joined teammate Mike Rupp and Penguins chaplain Brad Henderson on a trip to Haiti to visit an orphanage.
Talbot was not there long before he was touched by the giving, unselfish spirits of the children in the orphanage and the dreams they had to make better lives for themselves and help their families. He was influenced to do something to help the building of a second orphanage in Haiti, as the one he visited was overcrowded.
He has since started a foundation to raise funds for this project, and he also teamed up with Brush Footwear to design shoes that will be sent to Haiti. Talbot also encouraged his teammates to paint shoes, which were auctioned off. He also hopes to use his foundation to help needy children in the Pittsburgh area.
In addition to his charity work, Talbot has become a fan favorite in Pittsburgh. He has filmed hilarious commercials for a car dealership which coined the phrases "superstar treatment" and "chicka chee" among Pens fans. He has also delivered pizza to fans waiting in the student rush line before select Penguins home games.
Ryane Clowe, San Jose Sharks
Clowe started hosting a charity golf tournament in 2009 that has now become an annual event. The tournament raises money for R.E.A.L, a program which provides sports equipment and registration for kids in need that want to play sports.
The tournament also benefits the Epilepsy Newfoundland and Labrador organization, a group which helps people in the Newfoundland area who deal with epilepsy.
Joe Pavelski, San Jose Sharks
Pavelski was the Sharks nominee for the 2011 King Clancy Trophy and the 2011 Masterton Trophy.
He has been holding a golf tournament since 2009, and the money raised goes towards a Joe Pavelski Scholarship, which goes to a graduating senior with leadership abilities and involvement in extracurricular activities.
Pavelski also participated in a project with the Sharks Foundation to construct a street hockey court at an elementary school and was present at the opening. In addition, he was the team spokesperson for the Hockey for Huggies campaign, which collects diapers for families in need. He also purchased Christmas gifts for needy families in the San Jose area and met with those families.
During the offseason, Pavelski conducts hockey camps back in his native Wisconsin.
Barret Jackman, St. Louis Blues
Jackman started a program called Barret's Buddies, which works with the Stray Rescue of St. Louis to help abused and neglected animals. Stray Rescue is a no-kill animal shelter.
Before the Thanksgiving holiday, Jackman and teammate Alexander Steen helped the shelter with a rescue mission. They visited abandoned homes in the area to save dogs from bad situations. One dog had been lost in the rubble of a fire, for example, while another was a dog that had just hours to live.
The team took these dogs to a veterinarian to be checked for diseases and other injuries. Once the dogs got a clean bill of health, they were able to be put up for adoption by Stray Rescue.
Jackman owns two rescue dogs himself, and one of those was rescued from Hurricane Katrina.
Stray Rescue is a great organization that can save unwanted dogs from being put to sleep and also encourages owners to think twice before giving their dog to a shelter that would do that.
If you are an animal lover, you can donate by going to their website and clicking on "How to Help" at the top of the page.
Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay Lightning
Lecavalier sponsors the Vinny Lecavalier Foundation, which works with children who have cancer and blood disorders and their families.
In 2007, he donated $3 million to the All Children's Hospital to build a cancer and blood disorders center. Thanks to his generosity, the hospital named the new unit The Vincent Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorder Center at All Children's Hospital. The unit includes playrooms for children of all ages and accommodations for parents to stay overnight with their children in the hospital.
He hosts kids in a VIP suite at the St. Pete Times Forum and uses his hockey talents to make further contributions to charities. Since 2005, he has contributed $1,000 for each goal and $300 for each assist, raising over $126,000 to date and over $20,000 alone this past season.
Lecavalier was also the winner of the 2008 King Clancy Trophy and the 2008 NHL Foundation Player Award.
Lecavalier's website has a page where you can send donations to All Children's Hospital. You can donate online or find out how to send your donation by fax or mail.
Colby Armstrong, Toronto Maple Leafs
Armstrong was named the ESQ Community MVP for October. The award is given out monthly to the Maple Leafs player who does outstanding work in the community and is a positive representative for the team off the ice.
Armstrong taught a session at the Leafs Hockey Development clinic. He is also an ambassador for Easter Seals, an organization which helps people with disabilities become independent.
He has teamed up with Sports Chirps to sell shirts with the logo "Half Clapper, Top Cheddar." The saying is an unusual one, but it's a hockey phrase that indicates when a player pulls his stick back halfway before releasing a shot that goes high on the goaltender. A portion of sales from the shirts will benefit Camp Trillium, a program that offers recreational activities to kids with cancer.
He also promotes various charities to fans using his Twitter account and recently participated in the WHL Ride for Kids event to benefit a soon-to-be-opened Saskatchewan Children's Hospital. Several WHL and NHL alumni took part in the event.
I had the opportunity to meet Colby at an AHL game in late April. After he did a radio interview at intermission, he signed for a long line of fans gathered to see him even as arena security and an employee of the team wanted the fans to go back to their seats. Colby was smiling and talking with every fan, and he even gave out some hugs.
If you want to help Colby's charities, here are some ways you can do so:
Buy a "Half Clapper, Top Cheddar" shirt at Sports Chirps.
Donate to Camp Trillium.
Donate to Easter Seals.
Dion Phaneuf, Toronto Maple Leafs
During Phaneuf's time in Calgary, he was an ambassador to the Alberta Children's Hospital. He regularly donated tickets to patients and their families, and he also received the Ralph T. Scurfield Humanitarian Award, a Flames team award for community service.
In Toronto, he has a suite at the Air Canada Center for patients from Sick Kids Hospital, an initiative known as "Phaneuf's Friends in the Captain's Corner."
He also went to the hospital at Christmas time with teammates and Canadian soldiers to participate in Operation HOHOHO. The group read holiday stories to kids, handed out Leafs holiday stockings and even sang Christmas carols with the young patients.
Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks
In 2010, the Sedin twins, along with their wives, made a joint donation for $1.5 million to the British Columbia Children's Hospital. The donations went towards the construction of a pediatric intensive care unit and a diagnostic imaging area. The Sedins have been supporters of the hospital for the last several decades.
The twins also participate in various Canucks events, including the Canucks for Kids telethon, which has raised over one million dollars for various programs to support children's health and wellness. They are also active in the Dice and Ice event, a casino night to raise money for Canucks for Kids.
Daniel and Henrik are joint nominees for the 2011 NHL Foundation Player Award.
If you want to join the Sedins in supporting the work of British Columbia Children's Hospital, you can go to their foundation website.
Mike Green, Washington Capitals
Green is a finalist for the 2011 NHL Foundation Player Award and has been active in various community programs during his time in Washington.
He has created "Green's Gang," a group of underprivileged children and soldiers who receive tickets to Capitals home games through the program. He also gives money to So Kids Can, an initiative to help youth-oriented organizations.
This past season, he helped ready Powell Elementary School, a school the Capitals have "adopted," for the upcoming school year. Green joined Caps fans in painting, gardening, cleaning and decorating before the kids arrived for another year.
He also joined First Lady Michelle Obama to work on the Let's Move! program. The First Lady created the program to encourage kids to lead healthy lives.
At Christmas, he helps serve meals to underprivileged families in the D.C. area charity through a program called Miracle on Seventh Street.
Green was also named the Player of the Month for January by Sporting Generosity, an organization which recognizes community contributions by professional athletes.
The Capitals website links to a form you can fill out and donate to So Kids Can and also has a link to donate to the organization through PayPal.
Brooks Laich, Washington Capitals
Laich is involved in Athletes Against Autism, an organization co-founded by former Capitals goalie Olaf Kolzig. Kolzig founded the organization partially because he has an autistic son, and he wanted to get the support of other athletes who have been affected by autism. The organization is dedicated to raising awareness and funds for research, treatment and education.
Laich is also involved with raising funds for multiple sclerosis related charities.
After the 2010 Stanley Cup playoffs, in which the Capitals were eliminated after dropping a 3-1 series lead to the Canadiens, Laich was on his way home when he noticed a mom and daughter stranded on the side of the road. They had hit a pothole and got a flat tire and, although they had called for help, they were going to end up waiting awhile because the auto repair service was backed up.
Laich took it upon himself to change the woman's tire, which took about 40 minutes. He also talked to the woman and her daughter and apologized for the team's loss in the playoffs. He also gave hugs to both of them before heading home.
He shrugged off his act of kindness ("It's just a tire," he told Sports Illustrated), but his deed saved those women from a scary night of waiting for help to arrive.
Jim Slater, Winnipeg/Atlanta Thrashers
Slater is this year's Thrashers nominee for the King Clancy Trophy. He has also won the Gilner-Reeves Community Service Award, a Thrashers team award, for the last two years. The award goes to the player who makes a positive impact on the Atlanta community.
He has been active in the community by hosting children with cancer at a Thrashers game and participating in a food and clothing drive with his teammates. He also helped feed sea life at the Georgia Aquarium.
In addition, Slater donates to Traveler's Aid, an organization which prevents homelessness in the Atlanta area and provides assistance to travelers and low-income new residents of Atlanta.
You can make a monthly or one-time donation to Traveler's Aid on the donation page on their website.