A few words that come to mind when thinking about Blue Jackets left winger Scott Hartnell are hockey (obviously), hilarity and charity – and that’s exactly why he's hosting an event that encompasses all of his favorite things to support his #hartnelldown foundation.
“For the Foundation, we look at different ways to raise money and raise awareness in Columbus about what our foundation does,” Hartnell said.
The HA HA HArtnelldown Comedy Night fundraiser will give fans the unique opportunity to join Blue Jackets players for a fun-filled evening. The event will be held Sunday, Nov. 15, from 5 to 8 p.m. at Nationwide Arena.
“People love to hang out with the guys from the team, and we love seeing our fans,” Hartnell said. “It’s different when we’re at the arena and we’re focused on playing a hockey game. This event – it’s at the arena, but it’s away from the skates and, without our jerseys on, we’re just regular people. It’ll be a great time.”
Kelly Taylor, a comedian from Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, is Hartnell’s good friend and will be headlining the event. Hartnell played junior hockey in Prince Albert, and said he’s seen Taylor perform a bunch of times.
“You just look at the guy and you laugh,” Hartnell said. “He’s a great person to be around. He’ll be fun to come in and make the guys laugh, make the fans and everyone have a good night out with the Blue Jackets.”
Hartnell will be joined by Blue Jackets broadcaster and team ambassador Jody Shelley in hosting the event that will feature, in addition to the comedy show, raffles, auctions, food and drinks, meet and greets and more. All of the proceeds will go to support the #hartnelldown foundation and #HD43.
“For me to host, it was a no-brainer,” Shelley said. “He’s been a friend of mine since I met him in Philadelphia and, for him to ask me, it’s something fun for me to do. It’s different because it has a personal attachment since it’s something that he’s behind.
“It will be neat, because they’re normal guys,” Shelley said of the Blue Jackets players. “They like to laugh. It’s a comedy show with Kelly Taylor, who’s hilarious, and you see these guys in this environment and it’s totally different.”
The #hartnellDown foundation, formed by its namesake in 2012, provides support to charities that support hockey, children and communities around the U.S. and Canada.
The origin of the foundation began in the form of a hashtag, when a fan noticed that Hartnell couldn’t go a game without falling down on the ice. According to Hartnell’s website, it was Game 6 of the 2010 Stanley Cup Final between the Philadelphia Flyers and Chicago Blackhawks when #hartnelldown was born.
“He took it. That’s the type of guy he is, he didn’t fight it,” said Shelley, who played with Hartnell in Philadelphia. “He embraced it and turned it into a great thing.”
Soon after, Hartnell joined Twitter (@Hartsy43), sent out his fist Tweet containing the hashtag, and that’s how the #hartnelldown Foundation was born.
“I saw the impact he had on the kids in Philadelphia,” Shelley added. “Within the first couple of days that he got here in Columbus, he brought (the foundation) up and (asked) how to get it transferred over here.
“Now, it’s his second season and here he is having an event to try to continue that impact through to the young people in Columbus – and it’s really a thing about hockey and kids and opportunity.”
The proceeds from Hartnell’s foundation fundraisers have helped many initiatives, including sending kids to the Minnesota Hockey Camps in Nisswa, Minn. In the last two summers, Hartnell's foundation has been able to send kids to Minnesota and participate in camps alongside NHLers TJ Oshie (Washington) and Wayne Simmonds (Philadelphia) -- providing opportunities that they may not have had otherwise.
“It’s an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the kids to experience and participate in the camp," Hartnell said.
The NHL veteran of over 1,000 games said one of the biggest lessons he’s learned in his career is that when you fall, you have to get back up.
“Life doesn’t always go your way, you get knocked down on the ice, you get back up,” Hartnell said. “Sometimes life hits you hard, but you always have to land back on your feet and get up and get going again.”
Tickets for the HA HA HArtnelldown Comedy Night include a cocktail hour with the Blue Jackets, dinner, drinks, a comedy show and #HD43 favor and gift.
You can buy general admission tickets or buy a table which will seat one of the players including captain Nick Foligno, co-host Jody Shelley, All-Star Ryan Johansen, Jared Boll, Cam Atkinson, Brandon Dubinsky and Kevin Connauton.
For more information on the event or to purchase tickets visit: https://hahahartnelldown.24fundraiser.com/e/site/store/1995/event_tickets/386