DETROIT — Leading in the locker room and leading in the community.
As captain of the Red Wings, Henrik Zetterberg leads his teammates on the ice. Off of it, though, the forward uses his notoriety to help others through the Zetterberg Foundation Suite at Joe Louis Arena.
In 2013, Zetterberg and his wife, Emma, established the Zetterberg Foundation in order to increase and expand their efforts in giving back to the city of Detroit and the charitable causes they believe in globally involving children, education, women and healthcare.
The suite itself has been used to host hospital patients and their families from local children’s charities at each home game during the regular season. Since 2011-12, the suite has been made available to patients from the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation, C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, Beaumont Hospital and Big Brothers Big Sisters of metropolitan Detroit.
Additionally, the suite is also donated to charities specific to the community relations-themed nights at certain home games. For Military Appreciation Night, the suite was donated for military veterans and on Breast Cancer Awareness Night, it was used for breast cancer survivors.
"It's very important to him and his wife that they're involved and they give back to the city of Detroit,” said Stephan Huber, Director of the Zetterberg Foundation. “They consider this now to be their primary home since they spend most of their time here. It's been very important to them both to be giving back to the city.”
In 2005, Zetterberg inherited a project to provide Detroit area residents with working smoke detectors, a project that was started by his former teammate Brendan Shanahan. An annual event, Zetterberg welcomes local firefighters from various departments to The Joe where new smoke detectors are delivered for Detroit fire departments to disburse throughout the community.
The Zetterbergs’ efforts have expanded globally as well, as they have worked in conjunction with ActionAid to do work in some of the world’s poorest regions.
In 2009, Emma traveled to the remote village of Kemba, Ethiopia, where the foundation helped fund the completion of the Belta Telo Middle School that provides 700 students with secondary education. In May of last year, a new project in the village took place to provide 3,000 people with clean, drinkable water for life and is to be completed later this year. Their work has also reached Nepal, where six houses were built for former debt slaves and in Guatemala, where they funded a care facility for abused girls.
Both Henrik and Emma have been meticulously involved in a variety of causes around the world. Through their efforts, the NHL acknowledged Henrik in 2013 as the NHL Foundation Player Award. The award recognizes the NHL player who applies the core values of hockey — commitment, perseverance and teamwork — to enrich the lives of people in the community.
Through the efforts of Henrik and Emma, the Zetterberg name has had a tremendous impact on the ice for Wings but more importantly, through their collective work off the ice have been able to impact many people in a variety of ways. For more information about the Zetterberg’s efforts or how to contribute towards their cause, visit ZetterbergFoundation.org.