NEW YORK, NY (March 21, 2019) - Entercom, a leading media and entertainment company and one of the two largest radio broadcasters in the U.S., Prudential Center, and the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation have announced the 5-Year Anniversary Mikey Strong Charity Hockey Game, presented by M&M'S, to benefit spinal cord research and quality of life initiatives on Friday, March 22, 2019, at 7 p.m. at Prudential Center in Newark, New Jersey. Boomer Esiason and Gregg Giannotti, hosts of Entercom station WFAN (WFAN-FM/AM) morning show "Boomer and Gio" will host the star-studded game which will feature two teams of 21 former NHL players, including 11 New Jersey Devils alumni.
Notable NHL alumni Ken Daneyko, Kevin Westgarth, Rick DiPietro and Alexei Kovalev will participate alongside former players from New Jersey Devils, New York Rangers and New York Islanders in the two-period charity game.
Attending the game in support of Mike Nichols is Reeve Foundation Ambassador and former Women's National Hockey League (WNHL) Boston Pride forward, Denna Laing. In December 2015, Laing sustained a spinal cord injury playing in the Outdoor Women's Classic and has since emerged as a strong voice and advocate for all individuals living with paralysis. For the first time, National Women's Hockey League players including Michelle "Shelly" Picard and Kelsey Koelzer from the 2018 Isobel Cup-winning Metropolitan Riveters will participate in the special game.
Proceeds from the game will go to the Nichols Family Trust to provide for Nichols' medical needs, as well as the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, which is dedicated to curing spinal cord injury by funding innovative research and improving the quality of life for individuals living with paralysis. The presenting sponsor, M&M'S, is also returning for a third year to help raise awareness for Nichols and his work to elevate the needs of the paralysis community.
FanDuel has joined the charity hockey game as a proud partner this year, both contributing to the cause through a donation as well as promo code activation for all patrons.
"My family and I look forward to this game each year because it represents the generosity and warmth of two communities who have been by my side during our toughest times," said Mike Nichols. "I am in awe of how it has grown over the years and the endless support we've received. This game has brought so much awareness to the cause. It's been overwhelming. I will be forever grateful to WFAN and its hosts, Prudential Center and M&M'S for supporting me as I continue my mission to give everyone living with paralysis an improved quality of life. Hockey will always be a part of me, and it means the world to have this community support as we aim to raise needed funds for research again this year."
In January 2014, Nichols sustained a spinal cord injury during a varsity hockey game when he was checked from behind, fracturing his C5 vertebrae. Following the accident, the Monroe Township student received a flood of support from the hockey community, including the New Jersey Devils, as well as WFAN. Five years later, Nichols now pays forward his gratitude by serving as an ambassador for the Reeve Foundation to help speed the development of treatments for spinal cord injury.
"Mikey Strong is one of the most emotionally powerful events that I have ever been a part of," said Boomer Esiason. "When we began this partnership five years ago, I couldn't have imagined that it would evolve into the success that it has become, due in large part to the heroic inspiration that Mikey Nichols is. It's an honor to be able to continue to support the Nichols Family Trust and the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation through WFAN and to raise awareness and funds for such a worthwhile cause."
"I'm excited to be able to participate in Mikey Strong once again," said Devils Alumni Ken Daneyko. "It's fantastic to have all three local alumni groups come together on the ice for this cause. Mikey has been an inspiration to everyone and I can't wait to lace 'em up."
Since its inaugural charity game, over $300,000 has been raised to benefit the Nichols Family Trust and the Reeve Foundation. Funds raised from the Mikey Strong Charity Hockey Game will support the advancement of innovative research and the development of life-changing treatments for spinal cord injury. One of the research programs that Nichols has been a strong advocate for is The Big Idea, the Reeve Foundation's most ambitious scientific endeavor to study the impact of epidural stimulation on individuals who have been completely paralyzed for years.
Epidural stimulation has enabled research participants to regain functions once thought to be lost following spinal cord injury. These functions range from standing, moving their legs, as well as autonomic improvements like enhanced bowel, bladder and sexual function. Most recently, epidural stimulation made international headlines when three separate research teams reported that individuals with both complete and incomplete spinal cord injury were able to take steps over ground with limited assistance as a result of the device and intensive rehabilitation. Through The Big Idea, the Reeve Foundation aims to demonstrate the power and potential of epidural stimulation on a larger, more diverse patient group in an effort to fast-track the therapy to the forefront of care.
Presenting partner, M&M'S is returning for a third consecutive year to help raise awareness for Nichols and his efforts to elevate the needs of the paralysis community. M&M'S brand logos will be featured throughout the game via a custom dasherboard takeover and digital signage.
"M&M'S is proud to return for a third year sponsoring this great event. Mikey Nichols is an inspiration to all of us and M&M'S couldn't be happier to support him and his charity," said Ray Amati, Media Director, Mars Wrigley Confectionary.
FanDuel has joined the charity hockey game as a proud partner this year, both contributing to the cause through a donation as well as enhancing the fan experience during the game with a special FanDuel Sportsbook app promotional code. Fans who download the FanDuel Sportsbook app and register using promo code "STRONG" will receive a $10 in site credit (no deposit required) now through the end of the charity game. This promotional offer and FanDuel branding will be featured throughout the event via promotions and digital signage.
General Admission tickets cost $25 and are on sale now. Prudential Center doors will open at 6 p.m. and the game starts at 7 p.m. The first 5,000 attendees to arrive on game day will receive a voucher for a ticket to a future New York Yankees, New York Red Bulls, and New Jersey Devils game. Each voucher will be valid for two complimentary tickets to select games during the 2019 season. To purchase tickets, visit newjerseydevils.com/mikeystrong.
For more information on the 5-Year Anniversary Mike Nichols Charity Hockey Game, please visit https://www.christopherreeve.org/events/mikey-strong.