PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL announced Thursday that more than $2.3 million was raised for charity and relief funds during the 2005-06 season by the league and its 25 member teams.
The financial contributions from ECHL teams were in addition to the thousands of appearances by players, coaches, team personnel and mascots at schools, hospitals, libraries and charity functions throughout the year.
The Bakersfield Condors donated $405,540 in cash and product to local non-profit organizations, earning the team the 2005 Beautiful Bakersfield Humanitarian Group Award, while the San Diego Gulls raised more than $280,000 for local charities, up almost eight percent from the team’s record-setting total in 2004-05, and for the third season in a row donated $50,000 in game tickets and memorabilia throughout the community.
The Kelly Cup champion Alaska Aces generated over $237,000 for charities and organizations in Anchorage while the Charlotte Checkers accounted for $218,718 in contributions to the community, including more than $45,000 raised through the team’s ticket fundraising program.
The ECHL auctioned custom-designed game-worn jerseys and game-used pucks from the 25 home season openers and raised almost $22,000 for The Salvation Army Hurricane Relief efforts. The league program was in addition to fundraising programs conducted by individual ECHL teams for those affected by Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Wilma. The Mississippi Sea Wolves and the Texas Wildcatters were unable to play in 2005-06 while the Florida Everblades had to postpone their season opener for a week.
The National Hockey League and the Hockey Hall of Fame toured the Stanley Cup to 23 cities in the ECHL during the season, increasing awareness of hurricane relief efforts and generating more than $10,000 in donations. The Stanley Cup Tour of the ECHL was another addition to the NHL’s charitable efforts which began with a joint donation with the NHL Players’ Association of $1 million to the Red Cross for Hurricane Katrina relief.
In their inaugural season the Phoenix RoadRunners generated over $132,000 for charities in the Valley of the Sun while the Idaho Steelheads raised more than $92,000 for organizations throughout the Treasure Valley. The Reading Royals and Royals Charities, the team’s charitable arm, raised and donated almost $85,000 to over 75 local non-profit organizations and the Pensacola Ice Pilots helped generate over $78,000 in donations. The Florida Everblades and the Fresno Falcons both surpassed $75,000 in charitable contributions while the Long Beach Ice Dogs and the Victoria Salmon Kings donated more than $72,000 and $66,000, respectively.
The Las Vegas Wranglers have donated $10,000 to Camp To Belong Nevada in each of their first three seasons in the ECHL and donated over $50,000 to charity, including $21,000 from its “Hurricane Relief” night. The Gwinnett Gladiators raised $70,000 including a record $46,000 with their annual jersey auction. The proceeds from the jersey auction benefit the Gladiators Foundation for Kids which has already raised more than $125,000 for North Metro Atlanta charities with an emphasis on those that assist children. The Stockton Thunder donated more than $41,000 in their first season while Dayton, Greenville, Trenton and Utah all surpassed $35,000 in charitable contributions.
For the second consecutive year the ECHL donated proceeds from its annual All-Star game-worn jersey and game-used puck auction to the Professional Hockey Players’ Association Health and Welfare Fund. Since beginning its All-Star auctions in 2002, the ECHL and The MeiGray Group have combined to raise almost $90,000 for the PHPA Health and Welfare Fund, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Karmanos Cancer Institute and Twin Towers Fund.