Boston, MA – Hockey Hall of Famer and Boston Bruins Vice President Cam Neely kicked off the First Annual Neely SK8 Challenge Wednesday night at Cronin Memorial Rink in Revere, Mass.
The Boston Bruins Foundation and the Cam Neely Foundation for Cancer Care have partnered to organize the fundraiser, sponsored by Liberty Mutual, to raise money for cancer patients and their families.
“It’s a great family style event and we’re really excited about it,” said Neely. “It’s not just for people that play hockey, it’s not just for kids, it’s anybody that skates can help raise money for cancer patients and families, a project we’re doing at the Floating Hospital for Children at Tufts Medical Center.”
The event, which runs from Jan. 30 to Feb. 28, will be held at 23 FMC Arenas throughout Massachusetts, with appearances by Neely, current and former Bruins players, B's mascot Blades and the Bruins Ice Girls.
Each skater has several ways to raise money to benefit the Neely Foundation, with prizes going to the highest earners. These include an autographed Neely jersey, an opportunity to ride the Zamboni, and many more.
Neely said that the event, and charity in general, changes all those involved.
“Seeing all these great people, with all this great courage, whether it’s various family members or patients, this great courage to battle what they’re going through rubs off on you,” he said.
He added that getting younger skaters involved is even more important, to keep the tradition of philanthropy alive.
“To be able to introduce children to giving back is a nice thing,” Neely said. “At a young age, for kids to understand what it means to give back is a good thing for them to learn.”
As current and former Bruins come together to help raise money, Neely said that as members of the Bruins family, they are simply doing what comes naturally.
“We’re very fortunate that the group of alumni we have here in the Boston area and our current players, it is expected of them to give back,” he said. “These guys are happy to come out and help whenever they can.
“That’s what the tradition of being a Boston Bruin is all about for years and years and years.”
Click here to learn more about the Neely SK8 Challenge and how you can help.