(Edmonton, AB) - Rogers Place was rocking as nearly 2,000 Junior High School students ascended to the arena today to officially launch the 2nd annual Hockey Helps Kids Charity Cup. Building off last year's success, Hockey Helps Kids allows kids from around the city to learn the value of social responsibility and community outreach, while supporting an array of local charities and strengthening the relationship between the Oilers and the community. A one-of-a-kind project in the National Hockey League.
Hockey Helps Kids, co-founded by Chloe and Harrison Katz, children of Oilers Entertainment Group Chairman Daryl Katz and his wife Renee, made its debut last year and has returned as a key program for the Edmonton Oilers 2016-17 Inaugural Season at Rogers Place after its incredibly successful and engaging campaign last year. The project is funded by the Katz family and administered by the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF), who helped connect the Katz children with four local Edmonton schools.
This year's 2nd annual Hockey Helps Kids Charity Cup launched with the four new local schools participating in this year's program including, St. Edmund, John D. Bracco, Highlands and Father Michael Troy. In its second season, Hockey Helps Kids once again complements each school's leadership curriculum, encouraging the students to grow alongside the program while raising awareness and funds for local charities.
"The Hockey Helps Kids program is that once-in-a-life-time opportunity for staff and students alike. I can't begin to express the amazing skills that students have acquired during this initiative," said Highlands School Leadership and Science Teacher Michelle Sabourin. "The spirit it has given our school is incredible. We will talk about this for years to come."
Through research, interviews, the collection of data and most important teamwork and collaboration, earlier this school year each school selected a local non-profit organization to support. With the support of their Oilers team captain, each school developed a video pitch which launched today on the centre-hung high-definition scoreboard at Rogers Place, the best quality four-sided scoreboard in the NHL and NBA.
The students' hard work has been on display all season and now the pitches will be promoted during Oilers home games, online and through the grassroots outreach of each school, starting today until February 16, 2017 at midnight. Fans will have the opportunity to vote for their favourite team during this voting period.
"Harrison and I are so inspired by all of the students' hard work through every stage of the Hockey Helps Kids program this year. The videos are fantastic and most importantly, together we're all becoming more socially engaged with our communities and local non-profits," said Chloe Katz.
"With the official launch of the 2nd annual Hockey Helps Kids Charity Cup, it's time for our community to rally around each other and vote! Let's help make a difference in our community," added Harrison Katz.
The school with the most votes at the end of the Charity Cup Challenge will win $25,000 for their designated charity and the three runners-up will also receive $10,000 for their local charities.
Last season, Team McDavid and Killarney School captured the inaugural Charity Cup, winning $25,000 for the Zebra Child Protection Centre in Edmonton.
St. Edmund Catholic Junior High School
Oilers Captain: Jordan Eberle
Charity: Guardian Angels Program in the Edmonton Catholic School District Foundation
John D. Bracco Junior High School
Oilers Captain: Milan Lucic
Charity: Sexual Assault Centre of Edmonton
Oilers Captain: Connor McDavid
Charity: Make-A-Wish Northern Alberta
Father Michael Troy Junior High School
Oilers Captain: Ryan Nugent-Hopkins
Charity: Sport Central
To learn more about Hockey Helps Kids and to view the team videos and vote, visit: HockeyHelpsKids.com/vote.