As you probably know, the Kids ‘N Community Foundation’s largest annual fundraising event, the Casino Night and Wine Tasting, is this Sunday.
This is always an interesting time as our live and silent auctions are becoming finalized. We will have over 80 silent auction items and nine live auction items. I really enjoy this time of year because my office becomes a storage haven for some really unique items.
I thought I would take a little time today to showcase a few of the items that will be up for auction (and share photos for some of the things hanging around).
I probably should not start with the top and work down…but hey, the equipment manager’s basket is too great to not mention first.
Equipment Managers' Basket
The equipment managers, Bob Gorman, Wally Tatomir and Skip Cunningham, always do an exemplary job with their basket. They tactfully collect items throughout the season that they know will have great value for the Kids ‘N Community Foundation. Each year they seem to find a way to top the year before, but this year will be tough to beat as they currently have nine items that are all very unique and desirable (three of which are top-shelf items).
The “smaller” items in the equipment managers' basket are:
- An autographed Niclas Lidstrom (authentic replica) Detroit Red Wings jersey
- Sidney Crosby autographed Penguins game puck
- Autographed Daniel Briere game stick
- Autographed Jamie Langenbrunner game stick
- A pair of game-worn Ray Whitney gloves
- Tim Gleason autographed game-worn helmet from the 2009-10 season
There are three items that currently “headline” the basket:
- A blue Finland Nike warm-up jacket issued to Joni Pitkanen for the Vancouver Olympics. This jacket is autographed by Joni Pitkanen.
- Ray Whitney’s game-worn helmet from his 1000th NHL Game (October 21, 2009, vs. NYI). Again, this is autographed by Ray Whitney.
- Tim Gleason’s white helmet from the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. This is complete with visor (which Tim was forced to add due to IOC rules) as well as all Olympic stickers, decals and numbers. Tim even autographed the helmet with his Olympic number “4”.
We will get most player baskets at Saturday’s game. I know of a few baskets that will be very elaborate (Whitney, Cole), but I will not spoil their surprise. However, we have already received a few very cool baskets. Rod Brind’Amour and Tom Kostopoulos loaded their baskets with very unique items that are their “favorites.” Manny Legace also did a great job of adding small sticky notes to each item that describe why he likes the item. For example, on his box of golf balls he gave a tip that I can never follow, “keep it in the short grass.” He even took the time to inscribe the cover of his favorite book.
Silent auction items from other sports
I have always been a sports guy, especially baseball, so the autographed photo of Nolan Ryan tipping his cap after his final start is something I would really enjoy. The photo is even more unique because it was taken by Hurricanes team photographer Gregg Forwerck, who always catches the perfect shot (Gregg is also under the employ of the Topps Trading Card Company).
Our friends from other teams also donated items like a Stephen Strasburg signed baseball (Washington Nationals phenom), a Jonathan Stewart signed football, signed basketballs by Coach K and Coach Williams and unique NASCAR items from Ryan Newman (autographed race shirt), Kevin Harvick (autographed race helmet visor and die-cast car) and Jimmie Johnson (autographed die-cast car). There are dozens of items that I am forgetting, but these are the ones in close eyesight.
Canes-related silent auction items
Probably the most sought-after silent auction item from a Canes player will be a Cam Ward goalie helmet. This helmet is an ITECH helmet that Cam tried out for a few weeks during camp and early in the season last year. This helmet provides a little more protection from concussions, but it is noticeably heavier than the helmet Cam typically wears. I think Cam really wanted to “enjoy” this mask due to its slightly upgraded protection, but it was too heavy to become his everyday mask. To my knowledge, this is the only ITECH Cam Ward mask ever produced.
We will also have a few other neat items, but one that I like is a framed piece that depicts our last three captains and is autographed by Francis, Brind’Amour and Staal.
There are nine total live auction items, of which seven are related directly to unique team experiences. The two that are not are obviously worthy of live auction status.
One is a NASCAR experience that I wish I could somehow walk home with. It includes two 28-lap driving experiences (most are usually 4-6 laps) at the Dale Jarrett Racing Adventure. On top of this unique opportunity, you also get tickets to the Nationwide and Sprint Cup races in Charlotte over the Labor Day weekend as well as hotel stay AND a tour of ESPN’s broadcast pavilion.
The other non-Canes item is from our good friends at Bailey’s. They have donated a “dazzling” necklace, earrings and ring from Slane and Slane. I have been told by people in the know that Slane and Slane are the hottest new jewelry designers around as their sales have quickly jumped on the heels of the likes of David Yurman. Even better, the two ladies who started the company are from High Point (they have now moved…but hey, we will still claim them).
Of course, there are some staples like the always highly sought-after team trip, the unique ability to be in the team photo and the ability to be a “Cane for a day.” There are also new experiences that include the ability to play in a table tennis tournament in the locker room with Canes players after practice and the ability to spend a day in the shoes of our coaching staff (great deal on this as it is a set price).
Also, Nina from Nina’s Restaurant has graciously donated her restaurant for another private dinner. Last year the dinner featured the team’s captains and this year it will feature the Canes' four Olympians.
Katharine Kelley and Kristina Boyce have done a terrific job planning the event. The Western Saloon theme will be carried throughout the arena due to generous donations by the State Fairgrounds and the American Cancer Society’s annual “Raleigh Roundup.”
We have surpassed our tickets sold from last year’s event but we do still have a few tickets available. You can purchase your tickets through Ticketmaster.
Again, this is the biggest fundraiser of the year for our foundation and it is a great time to interact with the Canes players and coaches. We hope to see you at the RBC Center both Saturday and Sunday.