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Lecavalier honored for community service

A nice honor for Vinny from the NHL. Here is the release sent out by the league:

The National Hockey League Foundation today announced that Lightning center Vincent Lecavalier and Canucks center Trevor Linden are co-recipients of the 10th annual NHL Foundation Player Award in recognition of their commitment and service to charities in their communities.  It is the first time that two players have been selected to receive the award.  The NHL Foundation will present $25,000 to the Vinny Lecavalier Foundation on behalf of Lecavalier and $25,000 to Canuck Place Children’s Hospice on behalf of Linden.  Both players will be honored at a special NHL Awards presentation on Wednesday, May 28 at 2:00 p.m., ET, at the Omni William Penn Hotel in Pittsburgh, prior to Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final.    

“We are honored to award both Vinny and Trevor with the 2008 NHL Foundation Player Award,” said Bernadette Mansur, Executive Director, NHL Foundation.  “Their dedication to helping others is a great example of the commitment all our NHL players have in giving to their communities.”

In October 2007, Vincent Lecavalier announced a $3-million commitment to build The Vincent Lecavalier Pediatric Cancer and Blood Disorder Center at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg, FL.  Scheduled to open in 2009, the Center will be one of the largest pediatric cancer centers in Florida, occupying half of the seventh floor in the new All Children’s Hospital.  Its 26,500 square-feet will include 28 individual patient rooms with accommodations for parents to stay overnight with their child. Patients receiving life-saving blood or marrow transplants can also be cared for in these rooms. Playrooms will include an area specifically geared toward adolescent-aged patients.  The entire Center is designed with a special HEPA-filtered positive pressure airflow system, allowing young patients whose immune systems may be suppressed due to chemotherapy the chance to move freely about the unit rather than being restricted to their rooms.  More than half of the funds will be gifted through the Foundation by Lecavalier and Foundation legacy partners.  The remaining dollars will be raised through the community and Foundation efforts such as Lecavalier's annual Texas Hold’Em Celebrity Poker Tournament, which has netted more than $250,000 in its first two years.   

Drafted by the Lightning in 1998, Lecavalier always has made community giving and charitable work a part of his career.  He partnered with Kane's Furniture to create an on-ice performance initiative to benefit All Children’s Hospital.  For every goal he scores at home, Lecavalier and Kane’s Furniture donate $1,000; for each assist, $300.  Due to his on-ice success during the 2007-08 season, this year’s $32,000 contribution surpassed all previous years.  To date, Lecavalier and Kane’s Furniture have donated more than $120,000 to All Children’s Hospital.

In 2003, Lecavalier created the Vinny Lecavalier Foundation, which was formed to stimulate the positive development of youth and families in the Tampa Bay, FL and Rimouski, QC communities through charitable outreach projects.  In partnership with Kane’s Furniture and DEX Imaging, Inc. of Tampa, the foundation has contributed significantly to local children’s hospitals and charities through contributions and personal support. 

“Even at a young age, my parents, Yvon and Christiane, always stressed to me the importance of helping others,” Lecavalier said. “Through the lessons they taught me I had the opportunity to learn so much about the important things in life, such as being a giving person. Since the day I became a member of the Tampa Bay community 10 years ago, I knew I wanted to find an important project to focus my energies on. The pediatric cancer center at All Children’s Hospital is that place, where special people are working tirelessly to have a life-changing impact on our community’s most precious commodity – the children.  I am honored to share this recognition with Trevor, and I’m humbled by the opportunity I have to help make a difference for those in need.”

Linden has played the majority of his 20-year career with the Canucks and continues to be regarded as a heroic and endearing leader to Canuck fans both on and off the ice.  He has earned this respect by continually exhibiting commitment to his team and the community of British Columbia. 

Since 2004, he has been the Honorary Chair of the Canadian Cancer Society’s Cops for Cancer bike tours helping to raise more than $8 million for pediatric cancer care and research. Linden was a spokesperson for preventative cancer care campaign with the Canadian Cancer Society throughout BC focusing on the themes of “Eat Well, Be Active, and Use Sun Sense,” and will participate in a BC Cancer Foundation’s June 1st Westside Cycling Classic fundraiser for cancer research with Olympic Cycling medalist great Axel Merckx.  He also is involved in the B.C. Sports Celebrities Festival to honor and raise funds for B.C. Special Olympians and created PSA’s and a print campaign for $1 million dollar BC Children’s Hospital Foundation Jeans Day fundraiser and the Superheroes Capital Campaign, a $200 million initiative that offers a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a legacy for BC’s children.  He has lent his name to the Michael Cuccione Foundation’s Skate for a Cure for pediatric cancer research and the Terry Fox Family’s Fundraiser, all due to his personal motivation to make a difference for the children of British Columbia.  Through his foundation, the Trevor Linden Foundation, and an annual golf tournament, he granted more than $650,000 to Canadian Cancer Society’s Camp Goodtimes, a camp for children and their families living with cancer located in Mission, B.C. Funds were used to construct a gymnasium for the children and it was named in his honor.

Throughout the 2007-08 season, Linden continued his charitable initiatives in the B.C. area by joining his team in many fundraising initiatives for the Canucks for Kids Fund.  He attended the Dice & Ice Charity Gala in support of BC Children’s Hospital and Canuck Place Children’s Hospice and was a key spokesperson for the Canucks for Kids Fund Telethon.  He also participated in the Canucks SuperSkills competition which raised $120,000 for KidsSport BC and Ronald McDonald House of BC and the Jake Milford Canucks Charity Golf Invitational which benefitted both the B.C. Hockey Benevolent Association and the Canucks for Kids Fund.  Through his support of these initiatives over the past 20 years Linden has helped the Canucks for Kids Fund raise more than $25 million in support of BC children’s charities.

Aside from donating his time and resources to raise money for charitable organizations, Linden also makes an active effort to visit children and families at Canuck Place, BC Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House of BC.  The entire team joined him in November 2007 for a visit to BC Children’s Hospital, where they were able to meet young patients and their families.  Linden is known to welcome children he has met during these visits to General Motors Place to visit after games with their parents and siblings.

“I am honored to receive this award and share it with Vincent, knowing that two charities will benefit from this National Hockey League initiative,” said Linden.  “My profession has offered me the privilege and opportunity to give back to children, particularly those with cancer and life-limiting illnesses. My parents, Lane and Edna, instilled in my brothers and I the desire to help those around in need and I am grateful for that gift.  My wife Cristina and I find joy in giving back to children and families of British Columbia as this is our community and the place we both live and work.  The experiences of spending time and listening to the stories of children in need has had a profound impact on my life and taught me to keep my eyes open to those in need.  These children have taught me the magic of living. The little things that we worry about in life seem very inconsequential when you know there are children struggling to live.  I would like to thank the children of BC and feel very blessed to be recognized for assisting them in the obstacles they face.”

Throughout his career, Linden has often quietly and always consistently continued to embody the spirit of community in Vancouver.  TELUS recently honored him with the TELUS Community Champion Award at the 42nd Annual Sport BC Athlete of the Year awards.  The award is presented to the “athlete who through his/her involvement and achievement in sports and community has inspired others to get involved.”

In its 10th year, the NHL Foundation Player Award recognizes an NHL player who applies the core values of hockey – commitment, perseverance and teamwork – to enrich the lives of people in his community. Past recipients honored for their charitable work were: Joe Sakic (2007); Marty Turco (2006); Jarome Iginla (2004); Darren McCarty (2003); Ron Francis (2002); Olaf Kolzig (2001); Adam Graves (2000); Rob Ray (1999); and Kelly Chase (1998).

The NHL Foundation judging panel consists of NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman; NHL Senior Vice President, Communications and NHL Foundation Executive Director Bernadette Mansur and NHL Vice President of Community & Diversity Programming Kenneth Martin, Jr.

[Last modified: Sunday, August 16, 2009 4:38pm]

    

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