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Stars, Dick's Sporting Goods sponsor 'Shop with a Star'

by John Tranchina / Dallas Stars

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With the holiday season well underway, the Dallas Stars teamed up with Dick’s Sporting Goods to bestow some goodwill towards some underprivileged kids in the Metroplex Sunday afternoon.

The ‘Shop with a Star’ event, which took place at Dick’s Sporting Goods at the Stonebriar Centre Mall in Frisco, featured 25 children from the Boys and Girls Club of Frisco each being provided with a $100 gift card by Dick’s, and then pairing up with five different Stars players to buy presents for themselves and their families. 

The children were also given four tickets each by the Dallas Stars Foundation for their families to enjoy an upcoming Stars home game at American Airlines Center.

So Sunday afternoon, the kids got to meet Stars players Mike Ribeiro, Stephane Robidas, Mike Smith, Loui Eriksson and Krys Barch and shop with them.

 It was clear that both the players and the children had a good time, as each player toured the vast, two-floor store with five children and a Dick’s employee, filling their shopping carts with various items ranging from tennis shoes to Cowboys football helmets to basketballs and clothing and everything else in between.

“It’s a blast,” Barch said, shortly after helping one young boy pick out a baseball batting helmet. “It’s a lot of fun with the kids and we see the excitement on their faces, just running around, they’re just grabbing things and putting it in the cart. It’s a lot of fun.”

“It’s enjoyable for me to come and do these things, especially with kids, the Boys and Girls Club, to put a smile on their faces,” Smith added, while showing off his ability to palm a basketball. “And this is the best time of the year. It’s good to be in here and enjoy having fun with these kids.”

While the children and players were enjoying themselves, both the Stars and Dick’s Sporting Goods were glad to have the opportunity to provide some holiday excitement for underprivileged kids in the Metroplex.

“Community marketing is important to us, just like it is to all of our partners,” noted Ben Cahalane, vice president of strategic partnerships for Hicks Sports Group. “And Dick’s Sporting Goods is very aggressive in their approach to the community in Dallas/Fort Worth and so it was a natural fit for both of us to look at this event and really put a lot behind it and make it go.”

“Being involved in the communities in which we do business, and especially with the kids in those communities, is a fundamental part of who we are as a company,” said Jeffrey R. Hennion, senior vice president and chief marketing officer of Dick’s Sporting Goods. “Through our partnership with the Stars, we are proud to once again host this great community event.”

The day’s activities was just the local version of an event that Dick’s participates in at locations all around the country, but the first time the Stars had been a part of it.

“We have, across the company, several different, we call it ‘Shop with a Jock’ events, and it’s really tailored towards specific sponsorships that we have in each market, and here we have a sponsorship with the Stars, so it’s ‘Shop with a Star,’” noted Michelle Losekamp, community marketing manager for Dick’s Sporting Goods. “Essentially, it’s just a feel-good event right before the holiday season, another way for us to give back to the community.”  

As for the kids selected to benefit from all the goodwill, ranging in age from 5-12, the fact that Dick’s has a previously-established relationship with the Boys and Girls Club made them a natural fit to be involved.

“We do a lot of work with the Boys and Girls Club in different markets,” Losekamp said. “They’re right here in Frisco, it’s a group that we’ve reached out to and we’re going to do a lot with in the community and give back to them.”

When the shopping spree first began, four of the five groups immediately set out for the kids’ shoe section. With several children heading for the Heely’s (you know, those shoes with the wheels on the bottom), players like Eriksson and Robidas found themselves helping the kids try on the footgear. 

Smith in particular seemed to be especially proficient at the art of fitting shoes - and making the sale, although he didn’t claim the commission.

“I have a shoe fetish, so I’ve seen a lot of people do up my shoes,” Smith pointed out, as he sported size 13 snakeskin cowboy boots. “So I’ve gained some experience by buying a lot of shoes and seeing people helping me out, so I was very good at helping others.”

Several players remarked with surprise about how many kids were more focused on trying to find gifts for family members instead of using their allotted money to buy something for themselves.

The fact that this event occurred during the holidays was not coincidental, and added to the happiness that it generated, both for the children and the players.

“We’re happy to add another holiday event,” said Carla Rosenberg, Dallas Stars Foundation executive director. “We get so many requests to do things around this time of year and it’s another opportunity to get the players out into the community and to give back during the holiday season.”

“This time of year, I remember when I was a kid,” Barch said with a big smile. “Right after Thanksgiving, which is in October for Canada, you’re getting ready for Christmas. I think I had my list ready for my parents probably October 30th, probably changed it about 400 times right up to December 24th, but it’s an exciting time for any kid. It’s just nice to help them out and participate and share with the fun they’re having.”

After the shopping spree, the children and the players then had a chance to sit down together and socialize over lunch. With pizza and refreshments provided by Campisi’s, everyone hung out and finished the afternoon’s festivities with a good meal.

“It’s a lot of fun just to see the kids, they’re just happy to be here,” Robidas said. “Every time you can do something for kids, that’s the most important thing in the world for me. It’s a good time of the year, it’s Christmas time, it’s underprivileged kids, they need help and if we can do little things to make them happier, it’s just perfect.”
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