The Minnesota Wild, Chicago Blackhawks, and their broadcast partners FOX Sports North, Comcast SportsNet Chicago, WGN-TV, FM 100.3 KFAN and WGN Radio AM 720, announced today that their joint fundraising effort to support Matt Olson, the Isanti, Minn., native who sustained a severe spinal cord injury last month playing junior hockey for the Chicago Cougars, has raised $177,579 to date. The funds, and any future donations received, will be directed to assist Matt and his family with the mounting costs associated with his serious injury. Information on future donation opportunities can be found below.
Matt's parents, Sue and Doug Olson said, "This was a very special night for our family. It was exciting to see these two organizations come together to support Matt in this way. We would like to thank the Minnesota Wild, the Chicago Blackhawks and their broadcast partners for all that they did to make this a successful event. We would also like to thank everyone that bid on the auction items and those that made financial donations."
The Wild, Blackhawks and their broadcast partners promoted the fundraising effort throughout the past week, culminating when the Wild hosted the Blackhawks on Tuesday, March 29 at Xcel Energy Center. The teams, along with FOX Sports North and Comcast SportsNet Chicago, dedicated the game to Matt and encouraged fans to bid or donate. Both teams wore special stickers on their helmets to show their support.
A total of 10 one-of-a-kind experiences donated by the Wild and Blackhawks organizations were auctioned online through the teams' websites generating $81,600 in bids. From the date the effort was announced, Matt's dedicated Go Fund Me page saw nearly $50,000 in donations. The page received $37,000 in contributions during the Wild-Blackhawks game on Tuesday night alone. Through a "text to donate" option, another $24,979 to date was raised. Minnesota Wild owner Craig Leipold and Chicago Blackhawks Chairman Rocky Wirtz offered to match fan donations via text up to $20,000. Players and parents from Totino-Grace, where Matt was a 2014 graduate, collected another $1,000 from program sales.
Interest throughout the hockey world, support from team broadcast partners and media nationwide helped to drive awareness for the effort. The words "Matt Olson" were trending on Twitter Tuesday evening.
According to Nielsen, the telecast on FOX Sports North earned a 5.7 household rating, the highest so far of the 2015-16 Wild season. The Matt Olson video features the regional sports network produced have received over 160,000 views online. The telecast rating on Comcast SportsNet Chicago posted a 3.9 Chicago-market household average and peaked at a 5.1, which equates to over 177,000 homes tuning in. In the addition, CSN was the No. 1 highest-rated station in the market for the entire length of the game in the key demo of men 25-54.
TO DONATE/SUPPORT: Text "SCORE" to 91999 through midnight CT on Sunday, April 3 or visit www.wild.com/Mo3 or www.chicagoblackhawks.com/Mo3 for additional ways to make a financial donation. At noon on Saturday, April 2, the Totino-Grace community will host an alumni hockey game and benefit for Matt at the Brooklyn Park Community Center. For more information on that event, click here.
To learn more about Matt Olson's story, visit his Caring Bridge site.