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A Celly for Something Greater: How Professional Hockey Players are Giving Back

Hockey players’ athleticism and power on the ice wows thousands of fans and draws in new viewers and players alike. Out of the spotlight, many hockey players are closely involved with their communities, whether that be in their hometown or where they are currently playing.  Here’s how some players are choosing to give back.


Nick Paul and the “Points by Paul” Campaign 


Courtesy of Getty Images

Mental health awareness is something that Nick Paul has been advocating for a very long time. The Tampa Bay Lightning center was in high school when one of his close friends took his own life. 


“It touched me,” said Paul, in an article by Forbes. “He was one of those guys who was always making jokes, the glass was half full and to see that he took his life by suicide was an absolute shock to me. Something I never thought was possible.”


Since his friend’s death, Paul has made it his mission to prevent more tragedies from happening. Paul began using his platform for awareness when he was 17, while he was playing with the North Bay Battalion of the Ontario Hockey League, and it has gained recognition since he started playing in the NHL. Since his trade to Tampa, Paul and the Lightning Foundation have partnered with the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay.


Through the “Points by Paul” campaign, Paul donates $150 for every point he scores to the Crisis Center, and the Lightning Foundation matches his donation. Over the past two years, “Points by Paul” has helped the Crisis Center be a valuable support system for many in the Tampa community.  


Courtesy of Tampa Bay Times

Nick Foligno and The Heart’s Playbook


Courtesy of Yardbarker

Congenital Heart Disease is something that no family should have to deal with. However, Chicago Blackhawks left winger Nick Foligno’s daughter Milana was diagnosed with the condition when she was born in 2013.


According to Conquering CHD, Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) is the most common birth defect and the leading cause of infant death. Though CHD has no cure, advancements in medical technology and surgeries can allow patients to live with CHD, like Foligno’s daughter does. Living with the disease is challenging for both patients and their families.


To help combat some of the challenges, Foligno and his wife Janelle founded The Heart’s Playbook, which aims to give children and their families access to the best resources available, unite communities in heart health, and aid research in cardiac centers across the United States. Through giving back, the Foligno family hopes to help others through their philanthropy for a cause that has personally affected their lives. 


Courtesy of Conquering CHD

Laura Stacey and LS7 Sticks In For Charity


Courtesy of Sportsnet

It is important for kids to develop healthy habits at a young age, which is something PWHL Montreal forward Laura Stacey recognized when she started the LS7 Sticks In For Charity Road Hockey Tournament five years ago. 


“From growing up and learning to play sports in Kleinburg, Ontario to now living and playing professional hockey in Montreal, Quebec for PWHL MTL I have been very fortunate to be surrounded by sport throughout my life! Supporting both of these charities is a way to give back to communities who have helped me chase my dreams and my career through sport” said Stacey in an article from The Hockey News.


This tournament is hosted annually in Stacey’s neighborhood in Etobicoke, Ontario in a unique format: participants of all ages and experiences are drawn on the morning of the event, where the kids will play alongside Stacey's PWHL Montreal teammates, other professional athletes, and Canadian Olympians and Paralympians, who serve as team captains.


To put on this event, Stacey enlists the help of the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation and KidSport Ontario, an organization which provides grants for children to compete in their favorite sports. Through the tournament, Stacey hopes to inspire children to get moving while making sure that financial barriers do not keep children from playing their favorite sport. 


Courtesy of KidSport Canada

From mental health, to chronic illness, to staying active, these hockey players continue to inspire and motivate others through giving back to their communities and bringing awareness to causes that are very near and dear to them. 




Edited by Emma Habel


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