RALEIGH, N.C. -- Carolina Hurrricanes star Eric Staal made the first great play of his weekend as an All-Star captain hours before drafting his Team Staal squad Friday night.
Mid-afternoon he prevented his toddler son, Parker, from potentially dismantling a display of Huggies diapers moments before a press conference announcing a new diaper-drive initiative between Kimberly-Clark, the parent company of Huggies, and the NHL.
The Hockey for Huggies partnership was announced by Staal, his wife Tanya and "Grey's Anatomy" television star Ellen Pompeo at the NHL Fan Fair, along with NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman and Robert Thibault, president of Kimberly-Clark infant, baby and childcare brands.
Huggies launched its "Every Little Bottom" program in late 2010 to help the 1 in 3 American mothers and 1 in 5 Canadians who struggle to provide diapers for their babies. The program has already generated 22.5 million diapers through local diaper drives, events and product donations. During February, each of the NHL's 30 clubs will stage its own diaper-drive night during game nights at arenas.
Fans can also text the name of their favorite NHL team to 501501 in the US and 20222 in Canada to donate $5 with each text and help diaper babies in their community.
"Huggies has made it easy to text or go to the website," said Pompeo, who found out Friday that she can count Eric and Tanya Staal among loyal fans of her starring role in "Gray's Anatomy." "One click of the mouse or sending of a text is something small that can make a big difference.
"You can also tell one or two or 10 people about how to donate [which can include buying specially marked packages of Huggies that can be given to local diaper drives]," said Pompeo. "You can make a huge impact and you are helping babies. What can be better than that?"
Pompeo also worked with the NHL and Kimberly-Clark to produce a public service announcement that debuted Friday at the press conference and will air in all NHL arenas beginning Saturday night during the Honda NHL SuperSkills competition here in Raleigh.
For a calendar of all Hockey for Huggies diaper drive nights or to donate online, visit NHL.com/huggies. All diapers and proceeds generated will be donated to a local social service agency within each NHL team's community, who will efficiently distribute diapers to those in need.
Diaper donations in support of Hockey for Huggies are being accepted now through Sunday at the Huggies Every Little Bottom booth inside the NHL Fan Fair™ at the Raleigh Convention Center and the RBC Center. Fans who bring diapers or cash donations to NHL Fan Fair will be eligible to receive discount coupons for purchases of NHL merchandise at Shop.NHL.com. In addition to local diaper drives in each of the 30 NHL team arenas, Huggies will hold an additional drive at the upcoming 2011 Tim Hortons NHL Heritage Classic in Calgary.
Staal told the media he was all too happy to be part of the League's overall efforts and in North Carolina specifically. He apparently has deep qualifications. One reporter asked if he has changed his share of son Parker's diapers.
"Yes," said Staal with a smile. "Many diapers. Many, many diapers."