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Spurgeons, Wild Host Event To Benefit Alberta

by Evan Sporer / Minnesota Wild

Deb Kostka has family in Canada, so she said she had been following the story surrounding the wild fires raging in Alberta for weeks.

Then, she said, when she read the article written by Danielle and Jared Spurgeon about how the fires affected Danielle's family, it was easy to place herself in that situation.

"It really hits home," Kostka said.

It's why Kostka, a Minnesota Wild fan, was among the hundreds in Edina on Thursday at an autograph signing put together by Jared and Danielle, with all the proceeds from the event going to the Red Cross, benefiting those affected by the Alberta fires.

"I'm very glad to help them out, and it's a great thing that the Wild players are doing because they really had a bad tragedy up there in Canada," Kostka said.

Hosted at a BMO bank, Spurgeon, Erik Haula, Zach Parise, Jason Pominville, Nate Prosser, and Jason Zucker signed autographs for about 80 minutes, helping to raise money for a cause that hit home from the Spurgeons.

"I am so thankful for everybody that came out today to donate and raise awareness for this," Danielle said. "It's been almost a month now, but these people still need help. In the first week it's big news, and then it's hard to keep them up. People don't pay attention for that long. To get it going again, and to show people that it's still a problem, and people still need help, it's a great thing."

Fans lined up hours ahead of time, waiting their turn for a special moment with Wild players, and all for a good cause.

"It was amazing to see the people wrapped around the building when we came in today," said Andrea Novak, a Community Relationship Manager for BMO.

A company with Canadian ties, Novak said the marriage between BMO and the Wild to host an event like this was an obvious choice.

"That was just a no-brainer," she said. "We have this location, and both of our organizations have a strong connection to Canada, so why not open up the doors?"

After returning to Alberta to help out her family, Danielle sent out an email to see which Wild players were still around and able to help out for any kind of charity event.

"It seems like it's affecting a lot of the hockey community, and it's great to see everyone reaching out and trying to help in any way they can," Zach Parise said. "Fortunately for us, having a lot of guys around, we can do something like this. When you do have a teammate's family directly affected by it, we're all part of a family, so you want to help out as much as you can."

The Hockey Lodge's mobile truck was also on hand, and merchandise was being sold in the BMO parking lot, with those proceeds also going toward relief funds.

"Any major event like this certainly just helps people help others in need," said Anita Root, a board member with Red Cross. "If you know somebody from Canada, or you know somebody who has family there, and you just want to be good Samaritans. Certainly Minnesota has a lot of them, and the Wild does a great job of supporting all of that."

For the Spurgeons, after witnessing firsthand the impact of the tragedy, helping out was the next logical step.

"We're fortunate enough that we could do something about it," Jared said. "If we can raise some money for people who lost their homes, and give a little bit back for what they lost, it will be huge. Any little thing helps for someone going through something like this."

Donations can still be made to help support relief funds here.

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