What does it take to make one of those classy NHL moments? A lot more than sportsmanship on the ice, that’s for sure!
When we think about the NHL’s most profound, iconic moments, we think of moments on the ice. There is Bobby Orr’s flying OT goal to win it all in 1970. Who can forget Ovechkin and Crosby’s dueling hat-tricks? Auston Matthews scoring four goals in his NHL debut is also a game to remember. And, what about Daryl Sitter sneaking ten goals past Boston’s David Reece?
It’s these types of moments that solidify our NHL heroes as these larger-than-life titans. But it is often their actions off the ice and in the community, that remind us of the people behind the player.
With the holiday season right around the corner, I thought it would be nice to showcase the stars on the ice that make an impact on kids year-round! It’s these types of actions carried out by people who grew up playing a game that fostered a mindset of giving back that makes me proud to be a hockey mom.
These are seven of my favorite moments of NHL players reaching out to kids and other people in their communities. These guys do fantastic things that remind me why I love this game and the people that play it.
Classy NHL Moments #1: Boston Bruins players dress up as Disney ‘Frozen’ characters
This was part of Boston’s annual reverse trick-or-treat hospital visit where players are known for dressing up. Their costumes had a ‘Star Wars’ theme this year.
Classy NHL Moments #2: Sidney Crosby takes Stanley Cup home for hospital tour
Crosby and the Cup also made it to a retirement home for veterans and some other places in the community. He is an excellent example of a player that has one foot in both the city he plays for and the city that raised him.
Classy NHL Moments #3: Chicago Blackhawks #WhatsYourGoal Initiative
Classy NHL Moments #4: P.K. Subban’s Helping Hand Fund
Classy NHL Moments #5: Try Hockey For Free Day
Classy NHL Moments #6: Chicago Blackhawks Players Declare Official Blackhawks Rinks
Classy NHL Moments #7: Jeremy Roenick and the Jack Jablonski Fund
Despite being out of the game for about eight seasons now, Jeremy Roenick is still a household hockey name. Known for being a bit of a loud mouth, Roenick always took the time to acknowledge fans, sign autographs and the like. Throughout his time on the ice and after, Roenick got involved with a number of different charities and fundraising opportunities.
One case that stuck with Roenick was Jack Jablonski, a teenage hockey player that became paralyzed after a hard hit from behind. Roenick took quick interest and flew out to meet Jablonski. The two became fast friends and have hosted charity events together, been on the radio and more. Roenick and Jablonski’s connection speaks volumes to the character of both men.
Classy NHL Moments Bonus: Jeremy Roenick and Gordie Howe
I came across this story while doing some Jeremy Roenick fact-checking. The story was the reasoning behind why Roenick always took that extra time out for fans. He grew up in Connecticut and would attend Hartford Whalers’ games. During a game, legendary Gordie Howe scooped a pile of shaved ice off the ground and tossed it over the glass, landing on Roenick’s young head. Howe skated off, but not before flashing kid-Roenick a smile and a wink.
In Roenick’s words:
“I thought it was the coolest thing that ever happened in my whole life. It took three seconds. It was me, Gordie Howe and no one else… That moment stuck with me for years and years and years. It was little, it was small and it took nothing out of his power or time, but it resonated with me my whole life. So, as a player, as I got older, I tried to reach out to fans, reach out to kids whether on the ice or on the street or in a restaurant. I try to do little things where i can make the same impression on a young child that Gordie Howe made on me. That’s a gift that was given to me. And I made sure I did it, every, single day.”
Roenick’s sentiments regarding his incident with Gordie Howe show the considerable impact that these seemingly-small moments can have on a young kid. There’s little doubt that all of the moments on this list will stay with everyone involved and will be lifelong lessons in charity and community.
Did I miss a moment that you think deserves to be showcased? Please share it with me in the comments.
And, don’t forget to join us for hockey mom talk in my Facebook Group, Hockey Mom Hacks. We’d love to have you talk hockey with us.