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Community: Building Positive Energy

by Doug Warf / Carolina Hurricanes
Are you ready for the game tonight? I certainly am. I don’t know if you are like me or not, but on big game days like today I have to make a task sheet so that my wandering mind does not carry me too far off task. 
Doug Warf
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It is nice to have great things like the events we have today and tomorrow to distract me. (by the way, how would you like to be a Ducks fan and have to watch your game start at 4 p.m…or even be a Wings fan and have to be in your seats by 6 p.m. tonight…very odd).

The good thing is that today and tomorrow we are doing some great community events. We do this because they are the right thing to do…but this time of year, I put on my best Earl Hickey moustache and hope that “Carson Daly and his karma” are watching. 

This afternoon is somewhat of a historic start for us as we will begin forming the first NHL Diversity team in the Southeast. 

NHL Diversity Team
Today we kick-off our NHL Diversity Team. The team will be called the “Capital City Crew” and represents collaboration between the Raleigh Youth Hockey Association (supplies the coaches and ice), the Boys and Girls Club (supplies the players and the off-ice facility) and the NHL and Carolina Hurricanes (supply some financial backing as well as infrastructure). 

Today, approximately 45 Boys and Girls Club members will be trying out for the first NHL Diversity team to be formed in the Southeast. Coach John Scott will run the drills and he will be looking for kids who have a positive attitude and coach-able potential.

I will be there to play my normal role of human pylon/photographer/shooting dummie…all but the photographer come very natural to me.   

The team will officially start play in the late summer/early fall of this year and they will participate in a 14-week instructional clinic. Every other week they will be on the ice with RYHA instructors. On the off-weeks, the RYHA instructors will meet them at the Boys Club gym to go through off-ice drills. 

Through different organizations like the NHL Foundation, the NHLPA Foundation, Kids ‘N Community Foundation and donations from players like Eric Staal, the 20 or so members of the Capital City Crew will be fully supplied with their own hockey equipment, including sticks and skates and their ice time will be paid for. 

I have been nervous to talk about this program as it seems too good to be true. But today it begins and expect to hear A LOT more about it once the team is actually formed and begins play on the ice. To me, this is one of the coolest things we will have in operation once it begins. 

Coach Scott is the perfect coach as he focuses on skill development but is terrific at incorporating life skills associated with hockey. The Hurricanes are very thankful that he agreed to volunteer his time to this great venture.

Pick Up a Book and Read Essay Contest
We wrapped another successful year of our Pick Up a Book and Read program this year. We again increased the number of students participating and the number of overall pages read. The program is now in elementary schools that span a 10 county radius around Raleigh.

For the second straight year, there was an optional essay contest attached to the program. Tomorrow, 20 of the essay entrants will attend a luncheon with their parents and teacher. All 20 students will be recognized and the top five overall essays will be read aloud. Each of the top five students will receive special prizes and we hope to have a special guest or two.

Scott Walker was able to attend last year’s luncheon and he candidly spoke of the importance of reading and how it has played a large role in his life. Hopefully we will have some happy participants tomorrow.

Either way, the intelligence shown by these 3rd, 4th and 5th graders is astounding. I look forward to meeting the students and their teachers tomorrow.

Player Beards
The Beard-a-thon has currently raised over $39,000 for the Kids ‘N Community Foundation. We are oh, so close to breaking the $40,000 barrier, which is an amazing feat. 

I can’t say thank you enough to the over 600 beard growers and the over 1,000 donors.    I can assure you that your money will go to great children’s organizations this fall. 

As for the player’s beards, there was NO movement this week. Scott Walker and Eric Staal received small boosts, but Scott’s just help solidify his 2nd place standing and Eric’s brought him to within three dollars of cracking the top 10. The top 10 currently looks like this.

Amount Raised (as of 5/13)
Scott Walker
Niclas Wallin

Dennis Seidenberg

Matt Cullen
Joe Corvo
Ray Whitney

Dennis Seidenberg and Eric Staal both saw a “one puck” increase in their beard rating as both went from one puck to two pucks on the beard rating. 

Let’s see if they receive a three puck rating by the third round.

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