In an extremely generous gesture that will also appeal to the fans, Brad Richards and Scott Hartnell have co-organized “Operation Hat Trick,” a Sandy relief game featuring some of the NHL’s top players.
Next Saturday at Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall, Richards, who has been actively helping the effort on Staten Island, and Hartnell will lead squads that include NHL stars: Bobby Ryan, Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Dan Carcillo, James van Riemsdyk, Justin Williams, Simon Gagne, Ville Leino, Ryan Callahan, Steve Eminger, Jeff Halpern, Brian Boyle, Jody Shelley and James Neal.
Proceeds from the game and equipment auctions after will go towards aiding the Empire Relief Fund, N.J. Hurricane Relief Fund and American Red Cross.
You’ll notice several Jersey residents like Bobby Ryan and James van Riemsdyk participating, so this game is very genuine about helping those affected by the recent disaster.
No doubt, this event also represents a perfect opportunity for the NHLPA to score massive points in the court of public opinion, especially considering news of it broke the same night it was revealed that Gary Bettman has suggested a two-week break in labor talks. The PR war hasn’t done much towards ending the lockout yet, but the players continue to be much more more concerned with winning favor with the fans.
This really does sound like a great event though, one that fans may have a tough time staying away from. Still, you’ll notice they played it safe with the venue; there are far fewer seats on sale than exist at NHL arenas – going from anywhere between $20 and $100., starting tomorrow at 10:00 a.m.
The game also happens to be going head to head with the “Frozen Apple” featuring the Michigan Wolverines and the Cornell Big Red at MSG, which may have already attracted a major chunk of OPH’s target audience.
Who’s planning on going?
UPDATE: Larry Brooks reports that Henrik Lundqvist will also be playing in the game.