Brad Richards has set up 537 goals in his NHL career, but now he's partnering to assist in another area, off the ice.
Richards and Flyers' Scott Hartnell have put together a charity game to aid the victims of Superstorm Sandy, "Operation Hat Trick," on Nov. 24 at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, N.J, featuring a number of big-name NHLers. The proceeds will go to the Empire Relief State Fund, the New Jersey Relief Fund and the American Red Cross. Tickets range from $20 to $100 and can be purchased on the Hall's website or ticketmaster.com.
Richards and Hartnell will captain the two teams in the exhibition. Other players joining in the fun include a number of Rangers: Henrik Lundqvist, Ryan Callahan, Brian Boyle, Jeff Halpern and Steve Eminger. The Ducks' Bobby Ryan, Penguins' James Neal, the Kings' Simon Gagne, the Flyers' Kimmo Timonen and Jody Shelley, along with the Capitals' John Carlson and the Sabres' Ville Leino have also committed to playing. Expect more names to trickle in over the coming days as well.
"If we have an opportunity to make a difference for people, we're definitely going to do what we can to take advantage of that," Richards said to the New York Post. "I'm part of New York now. I know a lot of people who were affected by the storm, so whatever I can do, and whatever players in the area can do, we're going to do what we can.
The lockout officially has cost the NHL just over a month's worth of games, with the entirety of November wiped out and games up to Dec. 15 the next domino to fall, so it's very nice to see the players getting together to give back to the fans and areas they live in. Already, the Rangers and Islanders have lost 16 games and the Devils 14. This is not only a great opportunity to watch the sport's best players in a loose atmosphere, but also a chance to donate money to a great cause.
Born and bred in New Jersey, with so many friends affected and areas I've visited since I was a kid devastated, I can't wait to attend this game, knowing that I've assisted in the relief efforts. Despite the backlash from fans during the work stoppage, it's a wonderful reminder that players care and they have the rare ability to drum up support for philanthropic endeavors like this.
"We're not playing, but we feel a sense of responsibility to our communities," said Richards. "It's a privilege to be in this position, really."