COLUMBUS – The National Hockey League and Columbus Blue Jackets – along with NHL All-Stars Nick Foligno (Columbus Blue Jackets), Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins) and Jonathan Drouin (Tampa Bay Lightning) as well as NHL Alumni Andrew Cassels and Jamie Allison – unveiled a hockey-themed treehouse within the stairwell at the Columbus Ronald McDonald House, the largest Ronald McDonald House in the world that serves more than 3,500 families each year. Thanks to generous contributions from the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation, the Columbus Blue Jackets, the Columbus Foundation, Marketing Activations Group and U.S. League partner McDonald's, the NHL invested $190,000 into the Columbus Ronald McDonald House as part of the 2015 NHL All-Star Legacy Treehouse.
NHL All-Stars, NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation unveiled a hockey-themed treehouse at the Columbus Ronald McDonald House. (Photo: Jamie Sabau/NHLI)
The treehouse – which helps bring the outdoors into an indoor space – spans three floors and six flights of stairs with a unique hockey-themed activation in each area: the first floor, designed to look like a skating pond with an area to play hockey and a working scoreboard; the second floor and landing, converted into a Columbus Blue Jackets locker room and a replica hockey interactive game as seen at Nationwide Arena; the third floor, an ice resurfacer-shaped jungle gym with working horns; all leading to an All-Star Bench at the top. The treehouse also features climb ropes, ladders, rock walls, and protective hockey padding and netting around the handrails to provide safety. These activity features will enable the children to use their large muscles as they regain strength following an operation.
"Everyone at the National Hockey League wants to make sure the positive thoughts and feelings of All-Star Weekend endure long after Columbus has bid the All-Stars farewell, and the 2015 NHL All-Star Legacy Treehouse meets that objective perfectly," NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said. "We appreciate the opportunity to create a space at Ronald McDonald House where the children can be active, and we value the contributions of all who helped create this wonderful souvenir of All-Star Weekend."
"The Columbus Blue Jackets and our Foundation have had a terrific relationship with the Columbus Ronald McDonald House for several years and this incredible NHL All-Star Legacy Treehouse is a wonderful gift that will be enjoyed by many long after the NHL All-Star Weekend," said John P. McConnell, majority owner of the Columbus Blue Jackets and chairman of the board for the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation. "We're so proud to have the NHL and our partners step up in such a big way to join us in supporting the families who rely on the amazing resources of the House."
"We at the Columbus Ronald McDonald House are absolutely thrilled with how the NHL All-Star Legacy Treehouse has turned out. This space is truly special, and will be a tremendous support to the children and families staying with us while receiving treatment at area hospitals," said Dee Anders, CEO & Executive Director for Ronald McDonald House Charities of Central Ohio. "The hockey community has done something very special here, and this is definitely a project to be extremely proud of. We can't say thanks enough."
The NHL Legacy Initiative is an ongoing philanthropic endeavor in which the League, the local Club and League partners support community organizations in the host city of an NHL event.