A large storm that dumped snow and ice across the Midwest in early February created problems that, for lack of a better word, snowballed.
Thousands were without electricity. Highways were shut down and cars were stranded on the side of roads while plows worked tirelessly.
Despite their best efforts, icy conditions remained and forced the Blues to reschedule a home game with the Colorado Avalanche.
As a result, new dates had to be chosen for the team’s annual Casino Night and Rink Tour, and scheduling conflicts from those events meant the team’s annual Dream Night, which raises money for the Dream Factory of St. Louis and Camp Rainbow, had to be canceled.
“I think in the past, Dream Night with the Blues has been a huge opportunity for the guys to see where their charitable donations go,” said defenseman Barret Jackman
. “(The players) are able to interact with kids and you could really make a difference in their life.”
Because of Dream Night’s cancellation, the players met and decided to contribute their own money to the Dream Factory and Camp Rainbow. Players donated $25,000 amongst themselves and Barret Jackman
, Andy McDonald
, David Backes
and Alex Steen
presented a check in that amount to the organizations on Friday after the team’s practice at the Ice Zone at St. Louis Mills.
“It’s unfortunate that bad weather and other things canceled the night, so we just wanted to make sure they weren’t hurting from a night that they really depended on,” Jackman said.
In addition to the $25,000 team donation, Blues forward David Perron
is donating $10,000 to be split between both organizations and TJ Oshie is making a $4,000 contribution to the Dream Factory.
“Every year we do the Dream Factory event and it’s just so nice to see the faces of the kids when they see us,” Perron said. “You can tell they’re having a good time. You just want to contribute in any way you can as players to try and make the world better in a little way.”
A portion of Perron’s $10,000 contribution will be from a sponsorship deal with Reebok, while another portion comes from a contest he held on Twitter in which he’d donate one dollar to charity for every additional follower he received.
The rest is his own personal donation.
The Dream Factory of St. Louis was founded in 1983 and uses the money raised through donations and charitable events to grant wishes to terminally ill children. Whether that wish is going to Disney World or meeting their favorite athlete or celebrity, more than 92 cents of every dollar donated to Dream Factory goes towards making those dreams a reality.
Camp Rainbow was founded in 1988 and provides free camping experiences to children who are undergoing treatment for cancer and other blood-related disorders. The camps are often worked by cancer survivors.
“Amazement, tears…I’m blown away,” said Becky Schukar, a Dream Factory volunteer. “We’re very thankful and our charities are both very thankful and very appreciative. We hit a little (speed bump) this year and we were OK with that and we were moving on, and then this happened.
“We’re really in awe. Because of these guys, we reached our goal.”
The Blues organization will donate an additional $12,000 to the Dream Factory and Camp Rainbow through a special sale and auction held Apr. 1 vs. Calgary.
The contributions combined amount to more than $50,000 in donations.
“Just to see these kids and any opportunity to make them smile is a huge accomplishment. It leaves you with a warm feeling inside,” Jackman said. “(The money makes) a small dent in making some of their dreams come true, but this is a charity that’s always close to the Blues' hearts.”