Posted By: Christian Marin
The third time seems to be the charm, especially for Los Angeles Kings winger and captain Dustin Brown who finally brought home the NHL Foundation Award this year at the NHL Awards in Las Vegas, Nevada. As the winner of the award, the NHL is going to donate $25,000 to the charity of his choice for his contribution throughout the community. Brown, who was selected 13th overall by the Los Angeles Kings in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft, has taken a long road to get to where he’s at right now and it all seemed to happen for a reason. Scoring just one goal through 31 games in his rookie season; Brown spent a lot of time between the 2003 and 2005 seasons getting to where he wanted to be as an NHL player. His original plan was to donate $50 for every goal he scored but after the upsetting rookie campaign, Brown decided it’d be better if he donated $50 for every hit he made on the ice and he hasn’t looked back ever since.
Dustin Brown and his wife Nicole help contribute to KaBOOM!; a non-profit organization that helps develop parks that are within walking distance for the children, as well as giving them a safe environment to play in. In his first season helping out, Brown was able to raise more than $35,000 and was able to build a playground in his hometown of Ithaca, New York. He not only raises the funds but he also helps out in the building process and throughout the years he has been able to help re-build the playground at the Bellflower YMCA in Los Angeles and recently helped bring a playground to the city of Carson, California. This past season he donated $50 per hit towards the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles’ Newborn and Infant Critical Care Unit, donating a grand total of $15,000.
This past December, Brown helped out with the Make-A-Wish Foundation as he helped make six-year old Will McLeod’s wish come true as he spent an afternoon with him after practice. Will was suffering from acute lymphatic leukemia and had to go through chemotherapy for three years and still attends to keep the cancer away. Dustin met up with Will at the training center in El Segundo where he got to watch the LA Kings practice and then later joined them for a skate and shoot around. Will was given a behind the scenes tour of the STAPLES Center and then attended the game the following night when the Los Angeles Kings battled the Minnesota Wild. Brown offered to let him ride the Zamboni at the second intermission but Will respectfully declined.
Dustin Brown is no stranger around the city of Los Angeles. He helps out with the charitable functions that the organization puts on throughout the year and is a big contributor to the Kings Community Program; a program that helps bring tickets to underprivileged kids and military members. He is the spokesperson for the Children’s Cancer Research Fund and is a supporter of the Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. In 2009, he was named the “Hometown Hero” at the Southern California Sports Choice Awards and was the 2009 “Outstanding Young Californian” by the California Jaycee Foundation and California Junior Chamber for his commitment to challenge and inspire California’s youth.
Through social media, Brown has been able to raise awareness for Make My Day Monday; promoting the commitment of random acts of kindness each Monday. He was also able to help raise money for the Japanese earthquake relief back in March as he promised to donate $1 on behalf of all the new followers he got that week on his Twitter account. By the end of the week he had 9,425 new followers, resulting in a $9,425 donation.
He is the youngest captain in Los Angeles Kings history, as well as their first American-born captain. He’s gotten not only himself more involved in the community, but he’s managed to get the rest of the guys he plays with to help out. He had them help out with the Haiti relief and even got them to come with him after practice to help build playgrounds. He shows both on and off the ice every single day why the Los Angeles Kings were confident in making him the captain of the team at such a young age. With a roster that is so young each year, Brown makes a huge impact on the younger guys in the room as he is able to show them through examples from his own life how easy and rewarding it is to give back to those in need.