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Rich Peverley raising heart health awareness

Stars host Pevs Protects Day with former center dropping ceremonial puck

by Sean Shapiro / NHL.com Correspondent

DALLAS -- Former Dallas Stars center Rich Peverley nonchalantly grabbed a street hockey stick and stepped into the middle of a ball hockey game outside of American Airlines Center on Sunday.

As the orange ball skipped toward Peverley, the first time a young Stars fan, wearing a Mike Modano jersey, stopped chasing the play, he realized who had just stepped into the game, smiled and said "wow."

Three years removed from an unfortunate and sudden end to his playing career, that's the type of impact Peverley has on people.

On March 10, 2014, Peverley's heart stopped on the bench against the Columbus Blue Jackets and many feared the worst before doctors saved the then 31-year-old's life. His career came to an end, a difficult decision Peverley made with his family, but he has continued to serve as advocate for heart health through his charity Pevs Protects.

The Stars hosted Pevs Protects Day when they played the Boston Bruins, one of Peverley's' former teams, on Sunday.

Video: BOS@DAL: Peverley joins fan for ceremonial puck drop

Before the game, and after playing a bit of street hockey, Peverley dropped the ceremonial puck. During the game the Stars donated proceeds from the 50/50 raffle to the American Heart Association. Red shirts were also on sale to benefit the organization, while the Stars used red stick tape in warmups to help raise awareness.

The Stars held a similar event last year and Peverley said it's been important to advocate for heart health.

"Last year was the initial first year and we didn't really know how it would go," Peverley said. "After seeing results and some of the things we're trying to do actually happen, it's makes it more and more worthwhile to do these events and try and raise money and get the word out on raising for defibrillators and AEDs and training of AEDs and CPR."

The Guelph Storm of the Ontario Hockey League held a similar event last week in association with the Canadian Heart Association. In Guelph, funds raised by Peverley's organization helped train more than 400 people in proper CPR techniques and paid for a pair of donated defibrillators.

Another OHL team, the Kitchener Rangers, will host a Pevs Protects Night on Tuesday.

"It's been progressing great," Peverley said. "We've added a city, and we've had numerous cities reach out to us to do these events. We'll see where it goes, I have a job so I'm busy."

Peverley's new day job is as the player development coordinator for the Stars. He's based in Guelph, but also spends time with Stars prospects in the American Hockey League and makes two trips a season to Europe.

"I think he understands player development better than a lot of people that have been in those roles for a long time," Stars general manager Jim Nill said last week. "He had to work and earn everything in his playing career. So when he works with and talks to a young kid, it comes from a place of understanding."

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