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Pens Participate in ALS Ice Bucket Challenge

by Michelle Crechiolo / Pittsburgh Penguins

Penguins players and staff members have been drenching themselves with buckets of ice water over the last few days, but it’s not because of the hot weather.

It’s because the Pens have been participating in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a viral movement that involves people getting doused with buckets of ice water on video, posting that video to social media, then nominating others to do the same – all in an effort to raise ALS awareness. Those who refuse to take the challenge within 24 hours are asked to make a donation to the ALS charity of their choice (though many are doing both).

Forward Craig Adams, his wife Anne and their family initiated the Pens’ involvement in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge on Aug. 6. The fight to defeat ALS (also known as Lou Gehrig's disease), which is a fatal neurological disease that rapidly attacks the nerve cells responsible for controlling voluntary muscles, is very important to the Adams family.

Anne’s father Paul Cellucci, the former governor of Massachusetts and U.S. ambassador to Canada, passed away in 2013 after a lengthy battle with the devastating disease. He was 65 years old.

To honor him, Craig, his family, and his teammates have become passionate about raising ALS awareness and funds to support continued research and patient care. Right now, there is no treatment and no cure for the disease. They have participated in the Walk to Defeat ALS and will do so again this year on Sept. 6 (visit Craig and Anne's donation page here). Now, they are embracing the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, which has inspired unprecedented giving to the cause.

The ALS Association said in a media release posted on their website that as of Tuesday, August 19, the organization has received $22.9 million in donations compared to $1.9 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 19). These donations have come from existing donors and 453,210 new donors to The Association.

The Adams family challenged teammates Sidney Crosby and Chris Kunitz, as well as assistant general manager Bill Guerin, on Wednesday. All three accepted the challenge the following day, and in turn, nominated others that included Pascal Dupuis, Marc-Andre Fleury, Kris Letang, Rob Scuderi, Paul Martin, Kasperi Kapanen and assistant coach Rick Tocchet. From there, it just kept going, and at this point, it’d be difficult to find someone on the Penguins roster who hasn’t participated.

Fleury’s video especially stood out, as he wore a banana costume and not only challenged Evgeni Malkin, Jordan Staal and Max Talbot to pour buckets of ice over their head, but to do it in a better costume. And the former Penguins center Staal may have done just that, as he accepted Fleury’s challenge wearing a Mr. Potato Head costume.

Crosby accepted Adams’ challenge in support of all those with ALS, especially Pete Frates, who has been at the forefront of this movement. Frates, 29, is a Massachusetts native and former Boston College basketball player who has lived with ALS since 2012 and has worked tirelessly to spread awareness of the disease.

For more information on how to join the fight against ALS, please visit the website for the Western Pennsylvania chapter of the ALS Association.

Here are the videos of all Pens players and staff that have accepted the challenge...

Craig Adams

Sidney Crosby

Evgeni Malkin

Bill Guerin

Chris Kunitz

Marc-Andre Fleury

Paul Martin

Pascal Dupuis

Rob Scuderi

Simon Despres

Robert Bortuzzo

Jeff Zatkoff

Beau Bennett

Brandon Sutter

Jayson Megna

Zach Sill

Kasperi Kapanen

Rick Tocchet

Mark Recchi

Phil Bourque

Olli Maatta

Nick Spaling

Bryan Trottier

Jay Caufield

Mike Johnston

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