The National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association announced Wednesday morning that they have chosen The Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation as the official children's charity of the NHL and the NHLPA. Nashville Predators forward Scott Walker took part in the media conference, which was held at 9 a.m. CST in New York City's Madison Square Garden.
Walker, as the Predators' player representative, joined Brooks, NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Ted Saskin in announcing the partnership. The Teammates for Kids Foundation contributes financial resources to non-profit organizations that benefit children's health, education and inner-city services. Top Shelf Teammates, a division of the foundation, is the primary focus of the new partnership. Over 160 NHL players have participated in the program since its 2001 inception, contributing more than $1 million in donations based on performance in selected statistical categories ($500 per goal, for example).
Brooks also announced that the Teammates for Kids Foundation will match up to $1 million of all monies raised in the NHL/NHLPA online auction to benefit Katrina Relief efforts. All proceeds of the Katrina Auction will be donated to "World Vision" to support those affected by Hurricane Katrina; the auction complements the NHLPA and NHL's $1 million donation to the American Red Cross for Katrina assistance.
One of the most unique aspects of Teammates for Kids is that every dollar contributed is tripled through an affiliation with Teammates for Kids donors. One-hundred percent of that money benefits children, and the NHL and NHLPA look to add to the nearly $50 million that the foundation has generated for children's charities.
To spread the word, the NHL will use everything from scoreboards and in-arena messaging to NHL.com. All 30 Member Clubs have a player committed to help Teammates for Kids and in the near future, foundation representatives will conduct meetings with each club to inform players, managers and team representatives with the goal to further increase NHL player participation.
The online auction, which is being conducted by the NHL and NHLPA, features game-worn jerseys from the opening home games of all 30 NHL Member Clubs and is the largest auction ever conducted by the NHLPA and NHL. The auction began Nov. 14 and runs through Nov. 29.