In 1999 the NHL Players’ Association started ‘Goals and Dreams’ as a way to give back to the community through the game of hockey. By donating time, money and hockey necessities such as equipment; Goals and Dreams has given over 60,000 underprivileged kids in 23 different countries the chance to play the game of hockey. Having donated more than $19 million to grassroots hockey programs around the world, it is by far the largest organization of its kind.
Within its first five years, the NHLPA Goals and Dreams provided funding to arenas in small towns in Europe and North America, providing 110 sets of boards and glass as well as 75 ice re-surfaces. Since then they have committed to solely supporting and providing equipment to deserving children and families in need of financial assistance in order to become involved within the sport. They still however receive calls and requests for emergency arena repairs and from individual families who are in a financial situation due to economical and social reasons. The NHLPA Goals and Dreams Game-Changer Award sees individual families receive grants for purposes that go beyond hockey in order to address some of the numerous requests they receive.
All donations made by NHLPA Goals and Dreams are governed by an Advisory Board made up of some of the games best. Board members include Canadian hockey hero Paul Henderson; current Blues President John Davidson; Hockey Night in Canada host Ron MacLean, and players of the past such as Kris King; Adam Graves; Pavel Bure; Markus Naslund and Mats Sundin, to name a few. Current players who are involved include Ilya Kovalchuk, Pavel Kubina, Jon Sim, Mike Komisarek, Mark Parrish and Adrian Aucoin.
To celebrate its 10th anniversary last fall, a 10-day, 10-country charity tour took place-presenting children with new equipment and a chance to play and love the game that these professionals made a living out of. The tour made stops in Sweden, Finland, Russia, Latvia, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bosnia, Germany, the United States and finishing off in Toronto with a special ceremony at the Hockey Hall of Fame. Over 1,000 sets of equipment were donated to aspiring young hockey stars in 2010 alone, encouraging every player around the league to take part in this positive drive.
The NHLPA is involved in multiple causes and projects in regards to giving back to our society through the means of hockey. Hockey Fights Cancer is a joint initiative between the NHL and NHLPA to raise money and awareness for one of the biggest on going fights in medical science. Supported by NHL Alumni, player clubs and all supporters and members of the NHL in North America; more than $12 million has been raised to support national and local cancer research institutions. The NHLPA has also partnered with World Vision to create Hockey for Haiti in efforts to assist the people of Haiti following last January’s earthquake that changed the face of a nation. The NHL Players’ Association is also in works with the David Suzuki Foundation for the Carbon Neutral Challenge. The move to go-green began in 2007 and has picked up momentum ever since.
The National Hockey league and its players have the ability to make such a positive impact on our world and without fail they are doing so on a day to day basis. As a whole, they are remarkable role models for today’s children on and off the ice. Their work and contributions to those in need and for our environment and home can only be applauded.
To find out more and to keep up to date with the NHLPA, visit http://www.nhlpa.com/