The holidays are officially here. I know I can speak for myself when I say that the holidays have stealthily gotten closer and closer without me even realizing it. However, there are many holiday events taking place around the RBC Center that are sure to provide holiday cheer to me (hopefully, you as well). If you are struggling to get into the holiday spirit, I have a few anecdotes that illustrate the season of giving.
Carolina Hurricanes Toy Drive The Carolina Hurricanes Toy Drive started yesterday (Monday) and will run through Tuesday, December 16th. Fans who bring in a new, unwrapped toy between now and the game on December 16th will be awarded a buy one, get one free ticket voucher for that night’s game against Montreal. People who would like to donate a toy can drop off their toy at the Time Warner Cable Box Office at the RBC Center or the Eye location in Crabtree Valley Mall.
In addition to the BOGO voucher in exchange for a toy, you will also have the opportunity to win an autographed, Carolina Hurricanes Player Replica Jersey (…A perfect early present!). Fans who donate a toy to the toy drive can enter the drawing when they drop off their toy Additionally, a few of the Carolina Hurricanes players’ wives will be on hand December 16th to help collect toys, exchange vouchers, and run the “enter to win” raffle. The players’ jerseys that will be autographed and given out will be the husbands’ of the wives helping out with the toy drive.
The Eye toy collection will have a special guest on Sunday, December 14th. Hurricanes forward Brandon Sutter will be at the Eye from 1-2 p.m. to help collect toys, exchange vouchers, and sign autographs.
All toys that are collected by the Hurricanes will be donated out to area organizations in need of toys this holiday season including Wake County Human Services and Special Blessings.
Toys for Tots Another great toy collection event occurred this past Saturday (December 6th). The RBC Center played host for the Ray Price Harley Davidson Toys for Tots Marine Corps Toy Drive (try and say that three times fast). This was my first experience at the Toy Drive, so it was definitely an eye opening experience for me. I have little to no knowledge about Classic cars and Harley Davidson motorcycles. After Saturday, while I still may not have any knowledge about either subject, I did come away with new images of the words “classic” and “Harley Davidson.”
The Classic Cars trickled in all morning setting up shop on one side of the parking lot. I was able to make my way through the parking lot and witness an old car on hydraulics and then another classic car had a Kennedy/Johnson Presidential Campaign sticker on the back of it. That really gave me some perspective. I felt like I was walking onto the set of Grease. Around 12:45pm, you could here the rumble of the Harley Davidsons. You could hear the bikes long before you saw them. Finally, following a police escort, the Harley Davidsons started pouring into the RBC Center Parking Lot. Around 300 bikers parked their bikes opposite the Classic Cars. After they parked, they took their toy, walked across the parking lot, and placed it by their favorite car. The Classic Car owners did the same thing with the Harley Davidson Motorcycles. All in all, the toys that were brought surpassed what anyone expected. Marine Corps members and local ROTC chapters were on hand to help collect toys. The Marine Corps had to leave and get another truck because the large truck they brought couldn’t hold all the toys!
Let’s just say that even in these supposed tough economic times, people truly shine and go over and beyond during the holiday season. Many kids and families will now have a special and memorable holiday thanks to the generous bikers and Classic Car owners.
A Look Ahead The Carolina Hurricanes holiday spirit doesn’t stop with toy drives. Next week is packed with community outreach efforts for the holiday season. Next Monday, Carolina Hurricanes Players will visit with sick children in local hospitals. That same day, a few players will make a couple children’s Christmas unforgettable by taking them shopping. A few days later, RBC Center and Carolina Hurricanes staff members are scheduled to visit 6 area Senior Centers. Staff members will pass out holiday gift bags, play games, and visit with the residents at each site. It’s hard not to miss the holidays around the Carolina Hurricanes when so much is going on!
The holiday spirit is contagious, and I’ve definitely caught it here at the RBC Center. Happy Holidays!