Four top prospects and three Buffalo Sabres alumni recently took to Martin Luther King Jr. Park in Buffalo ahead of the 2016 NHL Draft for the fifth annual NHL Green Legacy Tree Project.
The tree project began in Pittsburgh before the 2012 NHL Draft. Prospects and team alumni plant 30 trees, one for each of the League's member teams, at a park in the draft's host city. Draft-eligible players Jakob Chychrun, Adam Fox, Kieffer Bellows and Lucas Johansen joined Sabres alumni Rob Ray, Danny Gare and Rene Robert to help the park in east Buffalo.
"It's really great to see our new generation of hockey players come out and support initiatives like this," NHL vice president of social responsibility Omar Mitchell said. "We want to show the environment is important to our sport."
In 2006, Martin Luther King Jr. Park was devastated by a storm and lost a significant number of its trees. These newly planted trees will help the park's recovery effort.
"We're just so grateful the NHL and the Sabres would want to come to MLK Park and do this," executive director of Olmstead Parks Conservancy Stephanie Crockett said. "It's very special for us."
Chychrun, a defenseman from Sarnia of the Ontario Hockey League who is the No. 4 prospect on NHL Central Scouting's final list of North American skaters, appreciated taking part in the legacy project and said he'd continue serving whichever community he plays in in the future.
"That's something I like to do," he said. "Hopefully, throughout my career I can give back to the community and give back to people in need to anyway I can do that, I'll do my best to help out."