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Joe Thornton Supports Right To Play

by San Jose Sharks Staff / San Jose Sharks

TORONTO  – Players from 22 National Hockey League teams are showing their support for the international humanitarian organization Right To Play by making personal donations over the Feb. 27 – March 1 weekend.

NHL superstars including Right To Play Athlete Ambassadors Joe Thornton, Alexander Ovechkin, Zdeno Chara, and Daniel Alfredsson will be among at least 25 players donating to Right To Play based on minutes played in one of their team’s games Feb. 27 – March 1. While players celebrate their ability to play a game they love, they will be making donations to Right To Play in honour of coaches or role models who instilled in them the positive values of sport and helped them succeed -- not just in hockey, but in life.

Thornton's donation game is Feb. 28 at Montreal.

Funds raised will support Right To Play’s sport and play programs in 23 countries of operation across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America. By training local community leaders as Coaches to deliver these programs, Right To Play provides similar growth opportunities and positive role models for 600,000 children in Right To Play activities every week.

“When I visited Right To Play projects in Mozambique last summer, I saw what an incredible impact Right To Play Coaches are having on children’s lives,” said Boston Bruins captain Zdeno Chara. “I was inspired by their commitment and extremely impressed by the ability of just a few Coaches to create such happiness and amazing learning opportunities for literally hundreds of children. My father was a mentor for me and that is why I am honouring him with my donation. I know it is for an outstanding cause.”

The Garth Brooks Teammates For Kids Foundation is also joining in the players’ support of Right To Play by matching donation contributions from Teammates For Kids ‘Hockey Teammates’ up to $20,000.

In addition, players, teams, the NHL and NHL Players’ Association have all contributed to an online auction in benefit of Right To Play. The auction launches this evening at www.ebay.com/righttoplay and is highlighted by a 1999 Harley-Davidson motorcycle donated by Boston Bruins defenseman Andrew Ference and a leather jacket from Deeley Harley-Davidson Canada. Andrew’s video promoting the auction can be seen on the eBay site.

Other items include a custom Steve Montador signature poker table, a signed 2009 ‘West’ NHL All-Star Game sweater, game-used sticks from Daniel Alfredsson, Garnet Exelby and Manny Malhotra, an Alex Ovechkin-autographed Right To Play tracksuit, signed jerseys and other merchandise. The auction closes on March 1.

“On behalf of all the children in our programs and the volunteer Coaches who work with them, I want to thank these NHL players and the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation for their outstanding leadership and support,” said Right To Play President and CEO Johann Koss. “This initiative is a great example of what can be achieved when athletes rally together around the best values of sport and play.”

Participating players can be found on a Coach Tribute Wall at righttoplay.ca or righttoplayusa.org. Fans are encouraged to join these NHL players by making online donations in honour of their own coaches or role models.

For donations of $25 or more, donor and coach names will be inserted on the Coach Tribute Wall alongside the NHL players, and the donor will receive a personalized ‘Coach Tribute’ via email as a special thank you.

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