Forward Patrice Bergeron of the Boston Bruins, forward Brent Burns of the San Jose Sharks, and defenseman Duncan Keith of the Chicago Blackhawks have been announced as the finalists for the 2013-2014 NHL Foundation Player Award. The Foundation Player Award goes to “an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey – commitment, perseverance and teamwork- to enrich the lives of the people in the community,” the National Hockey League states.
Patrice Bergeron has been a part of the development of “Patrice’s Pals” program, bringing children from local hospitals to the TD Garden to be a part of the magic of a Bruins home game. These children are met with a full game experience, they get to sit in the “Patrice’s Pals” luxury suite, meet Bergeron, and take pictures with him after the game. His charitable donation did not start with the development of his own program, but it began as soon as he joined the Bruins in 2004-2005. He is often found leading the “Bruin’s Holiday Toy Drive,” attending teammate “Shawn Thorton’s annual Cuts for a Cause” event, or regularly visiting children in the hospital. Last season Bergeron won the 2013 King Clancy Trophy, which is awarded to the NHL player who “best exemplifies leadership qualities both on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution to the community.”
Brent Burns has continued to make an impact in the community by being active in the “Sharks Foundation” and “Defending the Blueline,” an organization that was founded in 2009. While “Defending the Blue Line” was founded when Burns was a part of the Minnesota Wild, it is an organization which he continues to be active in. “Defending the Blueline” is a “non-profit organization that supports military families by ensuring the children of military members are afforded every opportunity to participate in the game of hockey.” Not only is he heavily active in the program but he has donated a suite to military families for every single Sharks home game this season. He hosted “Burnzies Buzz Cut for Charity” which raised over $24,000, and he raised over $60,000 with the “Skate for the Troops” and “Jr. Sharks Fundraiser.” He also donates the proceeds he has made from his signature Gongshow Gear line. The Sharks Foundation offers resources and financial support to help youth in the community. He has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over several events and has been an active participant in the “Hockey Fights Cancer” night where he and other hockey players meet young cancer patients after a home game.
Duncan Keith’s charity the “Keith Relief” assists families and individuals who are going through a medical crisis and are bearing financial and emotional burdens. Keith’s mission is to help lift the burden that these families have to carry. He is helped by his wife who is also incredibly active in the charity and in the community. “Keith Relief” has raised more than $250,000 through benefit concerts, and all the proceeds have gone to the “Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland and Northwest Indiana,” and similar organizations.
All of these players make incredible moves on the ice that put fans in awe of their talents and abilities, but what is even more incredible is the hard work these athletes put in off the ice to put a smile on the communities’ face.