NEW YORK – The National Hockey League (NHL) has partnered with PokerStars.net to bring together some of the most recognizable names in NHL hockey, entertainment and professional poker for a charity poker tournament during the 2009 NHL Awards celebration in Las Vegas.
Held on Wednesday, June 17, the NHL Charity Shootout™ Presented By PokerStars.net will feature NHL® stars sitting elbow to elbow with some of the greatest poker players in the world, entertainment celebrities, plus winners of an PokerStars.net fan play-in qualifying tournament, all at the Rio All Suite Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. The proceeds will go to charities designated in advance by each participant.
The NHL Charity Shootout Presented By Pokerstars.net will be taped to create four hours of TV to air on ESPN Classic and ESPN2 in the US and TSN in Canada and NHL Network™ throughout North America. Stars scheduled to participate in the tournament include current NHL players Roberto Luongo (Vancouver Canucks), Alex Ovechkin (Washington Capitals), Mike Richards (Philadelphia Flyers), Jeremy Roenick (San Jose Sharks), Sheldon Souray (Edmonton Oilers), Steve Sullivan (Nashville Predators) and Kris Versteeg (Chicago Blackhawks). NHL legends Pat LaFontaine, Cam Neely and Luc Robitaille also will play alongside celebrity participants and poker professionals Chris Moneymaker, Greg Raymer and Vanessa Rousso.
Play will begin with a round of No Limit Texas Hold'em in a shootout format in which each table plays down to a single winner. The surviving players will move on to play for incredible prizes adding up to more than $150,000 for charity. Portion of the proceeds go to the Ronald McDonald House of Las Vegas as well as NHLPA Goals & Dreams Fund. Each participating NHL player will receive $2,000 for a designated charity of his choice.
In addition to new partner Pokerstars.net, NHL corporate partners XM Canada, Scotiabank, Bridgestone and Bud Light also will activate at the 2009 NHL Awards™. XM Canada will present a musical performance by Canadian buzz band Arkells at the NHL Awards Party at Rain Nightclub inside the Palms Hotel following the 2009 NHL Awards broadcast. The two individual awards that are sponsored include the Scotiabank/NHL FAN FAV™ Award, the first-ever fan-driven NHL Award for the player who was voted the best overall regular-season performer, and the Mark Messier NHL Leadership Award presented by Bridgestone, which recognizes a player for his outstanding performance, leadership skills and dedicated humanitarian efforts. Anheuser-Busch/Bud Light conducted a Stanley Cup sweepstakes throughout Rounds 1 and 2 of the NHL Stanley Cup™ Playoffs, awarding one lucky fan and 3 guests the opportunity to attend NHL Awards as a VIP including time spent with the Stanley Cup.
"Bringing the NHL Awards to a place such as Las Vegas raises the profile of the event and creates opportunities for our partners to activate on a much larger scale," said Keith Wachtel, NHL Senior Vice President of Integrated Sales and Marketing. "The NHL is excited to come together with our partners in the Entertainment Capital of the World in celebration of the game."
The 2009 NHL Awards will serve as the inaugural event of a three-year agreement with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) to bring the event to Las Vegas. Held on June 18 at the Pearl Concert Theater inside the Palms Hotel, the 2009 NHL Awards will be broadcast on VERSUS in the United States and CBC in Canada. A limited number of tickets to the 2009 NHL Awards are still available to the public at www.ticketmaster.com/nhlawards and at the Pearl Concert Theater Box Office.