TEAM NUGENT-HOPKINS CROWNED CHARITY CUP CHAMPION
(Edmonton, AB) — For the first time in Hockey Helps Kids history, a back-to-back champion has emerged with Team Captain Ryan Nugent-Hopkins claiming the 3rd annual Hockey Helps Kids Charity Cup Challenge following his first win last season. Mary Butterworth School, also known as Team Nugent-Hopkins, has won $25,000 for its local charity of choice, Dogs with Wings. Dogs with Wings’ goal is to change lives for the better by fostering integration and independence for Albertans with disabilities by providing them with highly trained assistance dogs and aftercare.
“Working alongside Mary Butterworth School and Dogs with Wings was very rewarding and I’m proud to have helped them be named this year’s Hockey Helps Kids Charity Cup champion. Together we learned individuals with disabilities are important members of society who need our assistance and the work that Dogs with Wings does is vital in our community,” said Ryan Nugent-Hopkins.
“Dogs with Wings is thrilled to have been voted as the winning charity of Hockey Helps Kids. This $25,000 donation will be used for our “Ditch the List” campaign, our $1.5 million initiative to eliminate the wait list for our much-needed assistance dogs. Our goal is 50 dogs to 50 families through the campaign,” said Dogs with Wings Executive Director Doreen Slessor. “This donation will make a huge impact in our progress to provide assistance dogs to clients and promote their independence in the community.
“We would like to thank Mary Butterworth School for choosing Dogs with Wings and for being so incredible to work with, the Edmonton Oilers and Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation for supporting and marketing the campaign, and Chloe and Harrison Katz for promoting philanthropy with youth in our community.”
The 3rd annual Charity Cup Challenge brought in 95,526 votes cast within a one-month voting window, marking a significant increase from its first (44,600 votes) and second season (89,808 votes). This year’s votes are a testament to the significant positive impact that the Hockey Helps Kids initiative has made in the Edmonton community.
Although Mary Butterworth secured the win with the most fan-votes, students from D.S. MacKenzie (Team Draisaitl), Dan Knott (Team Lucic), Westmount Junior High (Team McDavid) and Dr. Donald Massey (Team Maroon) all walked away with the runner-up prize of $10,000 for each of their charity partners to positively impact other important local charities: the Mental Health Foundation, Free2BeMe (The Steadward Centre), United Way of the Alberta Capital Region and Edmonton Humane Society.
Hockey Helps Kids, co-founded by Chloe and Harrison Katz, children of Oilers Entertainment Group (OEG) Chairman Daryl Katz and his wife Renee, made its debut in the 2015-16 season and remains a key program for the Edmonton Oilers. The project is funded by the Katz family and administered by the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF). This third season saw Hockey Helps Kids expand to include five local schools and charities teamed up with five Oilers players acting as Hockey Helps Kids team captains.
“Congratulations to Mary Butterworth and Team Nugent-Hopkins for capturing the 3rd annual Charity Cup and to all of the teams for their amazing work in the community,” said Hockey Helps Kids Co-Founder Harrison Katz. “Seeing what kind of positive impact that Hockey Helps Kids is having on the community has been really rewarding. Thank you to all of the students and of course our Oilers captains for their commitment and passion for Hockey Helps Kids.”
“Our philanthropic journey has been really rewarding for both Harrison and I. At the beginning of this school year, we saw more than 2,400 students come together from five local Edmonton schools to celebrate the launch of Hockey Helps Kids and it’s my favourite memory so far,” said Hockey Helps Kids Co-Founder Chloe Katz. “Then to see all five video pitches this year in support of their selected charities was amazing. Everyone should feel so proud of their work.”
The teachers at Mary Butterworth were thrilled with this year’s results. Being able to guide their students to make a lasting impact in the Edmonton community is an initiative they were proud to align with.
“Hockey Helps Kids has been an invaluable experience for Mary Butterworth students in so many ways. Our students have learned about teamwork, and the need for dedication and perseverance to reach our goal of securing as many votes as possible,” said Mary Butterworth School Principal Cathy Taylor. “We feel so fortunate to have been able to have the opportunity to connect with our charity, Dogs with Wings. Through this connection our students have gained a deeper awareness of the needs of our community and have learned to think beyond themselves and the school.”
Hockey Helps Kids would like to thank Hockey Helps Kids team captain Patrick Maroon who represented Dr. Donald Massey School and the Edmonton Humane Society for his dedication and enthusiasm for Team Maroon this past season.
For more information on Hockey Helps Kids and to view the winning video in support of Dogs with Wings, please visit HockeyHelpsKids.com.