December 21, 2016

Columbus Blue Jackets Show Charitable Muscle All Year Long

These Nationwide Arena tenants are having a banner year in the National Hockey League. Simultaneously, they’re making 2016 a better year for those less fortunate.

Both through the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation and ongoing community relations activities, the team shows its charitable muscle in a variety of ways, says Kathryn Dobbs, vice president of community relations and executive director of the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation. 

For example, the team stepped in earlier this month to help with the Big 10TV Toy Drive, a partnership between WBNS-10TV, the Salvation Army, the Blue Jackets, Safe Harbor Retirement Group and City Barbeque. On December 8, the Jackets sent representatives including mascot Stinger and Jody Shelley – local broadcaster, team ambassador and former Jackets left winger – to the station to promote the drive. The team also gave away hockey tickets to those bringing toys to the station, says Dobbs. Two nights later, before the Jackets’ 6-2 blowout of the New York Islanders, team representatives collected 1,000 toys outside of Nationwide Arena.

But team members, coaches and their wives have been personally involved in spreading the cheer as well, Dobbs says. A prime example is the Player Day of Service, celebrated this year on December 7 when players and coaches delivered meals to senior citizens – and food for their pets – on behalf of LifeCare Alliance.

“We took 22 players out on 10 routes, and they went into homes in the community and personally delivered the meals,” Dobbs explains. “Later that same day, our coaches did two animal routes, also through LifeCare Alliance.”

Among coaches participating was Head Coach John Tortorella, who is active in animal welfare causes year-round through the John and Christine Tortorella Family Foundation.

“Those who know Coach Tortorella know about his love of dogs, so it was a great tie-in that he went out there and did this for the animals,” Dobbs says.

Players’ wives and girlfriends, meanwhile, raised $38,000 for charitable causes through the Foundation’s Lady Jackets Holiday Auction, which ran from December 5-10. Lucky winners took home prizes ranging from fly fishing with goalie Curt McElhinney to a Short North brunch and pedal wagon ride with Brandon Dubinsky, Cam Atkinson and their significant others.

Dobbs notes that these examples are the tip of the iceberg when it comes to giving back. Whether visiting young cancer patients at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, helping with youth hockey programs, or supporting other worthy causes focused on youth, health and wellness, the Blue Jackets are on the power play all year long.   

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