GLENDALE -- Throughout the 2010-11 hockey season, members of the Coyotes and NHL alumni associations have been providing hockey fans in the Valley with something to cheer about, along with providing the Coyotes an opportunity to gain new fans.
With direct assistance from the Phoenix Coyotes Hockey Development Department and Coyotes Charities, the alumni has been able to accomplish something completely unique in the hockey world, an outreach effort that provides family entertainment and also gives back to the community.
|Former Coyotes Cale Hulse (left) and Greg Adams (right) sign autographs alongside Howler after an alumni charity game in Scottsdale. |
Before the start of the season, Coyotes alums Greg Adams and Wayne McBean - along with Don Maloney, Brad Treliving and Kevin West of the Coyotes’ front office - outlined various goals and plans that would assist minor hockey in Arizona. It was not long before a mission statement for the alumni was formed. It reads:
It is the mission of the Coyotes Alumni Association to raise awareness and promote the Phoenix Coyotes organization in the Valley, as well as assist with fundraising and outreach efforts in the community and to the youth hockey associations throughout Phoenix and all of Arizona.
Through a series of charity games, which pitted local youth hockey coaches against former professional hockey players; pickup games at Jobing.com Arena; and a season-ending golf tournament at Las Sendas Golf Club in Mesa, AZ, the alumni was able to help raise more than $65,000 on behalf of five youth hockey organizations in the state. Before a sell-out crowd at Jobing.com Arena on April 8 during the Coyotes’ final home game of the regular season against the San Jose Sharks, members of the alumni presented a check to those five associations, which included the Arizona Heat, the Arizona Runners, the Desert Youth Hockey Association, Coyotes Amateur Hockey Association, and the Phoenix Polar Bears.
Perhaps the most entertaining aspect of the alumni activities this season was the charity games hosted at five different rinks throughout the Valley. Fans were able to watch former Coyotes such as Adams, Sean Burke, Tyson Nash, Brian Savage and Cale Hulse play against youth hockey coaches at the coaches’ home rinks, and enjoy appearances by Howler and the Paw Patrol. Each charity game featured autograph sessions with members of the Alumni, giveaways, silent auctions, and other activities.
The icing on the cake for these games was a get-what-you-put-in approach. The Alumni and the Coyotes provided the tangibles: auction items, inflatables, and members of the entertainment team, while each association was responsible for selling tickets and encouraging their members to attend. In return, all of the proceeds generated were given directly to each association.
These fundraising efforts, coupled with various appearances at community events and speaking engagements, have put the Coyotes Alumni at the forefront of promoting youth sports, community involvement, and promoting the sport of hockey in a non-traditional market.