NHL stars make charitable use of idle lockout time

  • Article by: MICHAEL RUSSO , Star Tribune
  • Updated: October 29, 2012 - 11:41 AM

The Wild's Zach Parise and other NHLers suited up for 3,000 fans in a benefit game.

view larger photos

  

Justin Falk knew it was going to be a cool night when two military kids met him at his car to carry his equipment bag to the locker room.

"You put all the lockout stuff aside for one night, and you really enjoy this moment of playing for a great cause," the Wild defenseman said before he and 30 of his fellow locked-out NHLers put on a show for 3,000 NHL-starved fans at Mariucci Arena to benefit charity Sunday night.

With no end in sight to a lockout that is six weeks old, the Wild's Zach Parise came up with the idea for a charity game. He called Shane Hudella, founder and president of Defending the Blue Line, which helps military families with the high costs of hockey.

"If one good thing comes out of this lockout, it's that we were able to play in this game," Parise said.

Hudella, who guesses the event will have raised almost $50,000, was "humbled by these pro athletes supporting this cause to help military kids."

"It was an awesome night," said Hudella, who tended goal for one period. "The guys had a blast. The fans had a blast. It's pretty moving to see all the talent that was on the ice."

The Army rallied from a 3-1 deficit to beat the Air Force 9-7 thanks to shootout goals by Wild left winger Stephane Veilleux and former Wild heart-and-soul Wes Walz. The two also scored in regulation, while Cal Clutterbuck scored twice and Ryan Suter, Matt Kassian and Erik Johnson once.

Former Gopher Kyle Okposo "had a nice little homecoming" with a hat trick for Air Force, and former Gopher Blake Wheeler had a goal and three assists. Ryan Carter, Matt Hendricks and Jimmy O'Brien also scored.

"It's been almost seven months since I played a hockey game, so just to get in front of fans again and get a sweat going, it was a good feeling," Wheeler said.

The night started heartwarmingly when paralyzed hockey player Jack Jablonski dropped the puck for a ceremonial faceoff.

"We'd sure like to play for real, but for us players, it's an escape from reality," said Wild goalie Niklas Backstrom. "An event like this shows hockey is so much more than just a game."

Last month, Backstrom nearly signed to play with Minsk of the Kontinental Hockey League before hurting his ankle. He again will look into jobs in Europe.

"I think the [lockout's] going to be a long one," Backstrom said. "At the end of the day we've got to do what we think will help us be ready when the season start -- or if it starts. You never know if we'll be locked out a year from now."

As Okposo said, "[The players] are standing firm and resolute. We know what's right."

Added Parise, who noted how many Wild jerseys were in Sunday's crowd, "It's unfortunate we're in this position right now. It's bad for the game and for the fans and you hope the fans come back because if they don't, there is no revenue to split at all. I hope everyone can get this thing figured out soon because it will kill our sport if we miss another season."

  • NHL LOCKOUT DAY 44

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Cincinnati 0 Bottom 3rd Inning
Baltimore 5
Boston 8 Top 9th Inning
NY Yankees 3
Detroit 1 Top 8th Inning
Cleveland 2
NY Mets 8 Bottom 9th Inning
Miami 6
Philadelphia - WP: K. Kendrick 4 FINAL
Atlanta - LP: M. Minor 0
Toronto 8 Bottom 9th Inning
Tampa Bay 2
Milwaukee 1 Bottom 6th Inning
Chicago Cubs 7
LA Angels 0 Top 6th Inning
Houston 7
Chicago WSox 3 Top 7th Inning
Minnesota 3
Texas 1 Bottom 7th Inning
Kansas City 1
Pittsburgh 2 Bottom 6th Inning
St. Louis 5
San Francisco 1 Bottom 5th Inning
Colorado 6
Seattle 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Oakland 0
Washington 0 Bottom 1st Inning
Los Angeles 0
Arizona 0 Top 1st Inning
San Diego 0
Green Bay 9/4/14 7:30 PM
Seattle
Buffalo 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Chicago
New Orleans 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Atlanta
Minnesota 9/7/14 12:00 PM
St. Louis
Cleveland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Pittsburgh
Jacksonville 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Oakland 9/7/14 12:00 PM
NY Jets
Cincinnati 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Baltimore
Washington 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Houston
Tennessee 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Kansas City
New England 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Miami
Carolina 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Tampa Bay
San Francisco 9/7/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Indianapolis 9/7/14 7:30 PM
Denver
NY Giants 9/8/14 6:10 PM
Detroit
San Diego 9/8/14 9:20 PM
Arizona
Miami-Florida 13 FINAL
(25) Louisville 31
Arizona 9/4/14 7:00 PM
TX-San Antonio
Pittsburgh 9/5/14 6:00 PM
Boston College
Washington St 9/5/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
SMU 9/6/14 11:00 AM
North Texas
Fla Atlantic 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(2) Alabama
Buffalo 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Army
(24) Missouri 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Toledo
Arkansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
(7) McNeese State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(19) Nebraska
Central Mich 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Purdue
Akron 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Penn State
Western Ill 9/6/14 11:00 AM
(18) Wisconsin
(20) Kansas State 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Iowa State
(4) Oklahoma 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Tulsa
Western Ky 9/6/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
SC State 9/6/14 11:30 AM
(23) Clemson
Navy 9/6/14 12:00 PM
Temple
UAB 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Miss State
South Alabama 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Kent State
New Mexico St 9/6/14 1:00 PM
Georgia State
Colorado 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Massachusetts
Fresno State 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Utah
(2) Eastern Wash 9/6/14 2:00 PM
Washington
(14) USC 9/6/14 2:30 PM
(13) Stanford
Ohio U 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Kentucky
Middle Tennessee 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Minnesota
Northern Ill 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Missouri State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Oklahoma State
Ball State 9/6/14 2:30 PM
Iowa
Maryland 9/6/14 2:30 PM
So Florida
Eastern Mich 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Florida
Georgia Tech 9/6/14 3:00 PM
Tulane
(15) Ole Miss 9/6/14 3:30 PM
Vanderbilt
Old Dominion 9/6/14 5:00 PM
NC State
(7) Michigan State 9/6/14 5:30 PM
(3) Oregon
(17) Arizona State 9/6/14 6:00 PM
New Mexico
Louisiana Tech 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
San Jose St 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
East Carolina 9/6/14 6:00 PM
(21) So Carolina
Duke 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Troy
Idaho 9/6/14 6:00 PM
ULM
(15) Sam Houston St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(12) LSU
Michigan 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(16) Notre Dame
Lamar 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(9) Texas A&M
Northwestern St 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(10) Baylor
BYU 9/6/14 6:30 PM
Texas
Citadel 9/6/14 6:30 PM
(1) Florida State
San Diego St 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(21) North Carolina
Virginia Tech 9/6/14 7:00 PM
(8) Ohio State
Memphis 9/6/14 9:00 PM
(11) UCLA
Colorado State 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Boise State
Air Force 9/6/14 9:15 PM
Wyoming
Oregon State 9/6/14 9:30 PM
Hawaii
Texas Tech 9/6/14 10:00 PM
Texas-El Paso
Brt Columbia 9/5/14 6:30 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 9/6/14 6:00 PM
Edmonton
Hamilton 9/7/14 12:00 PM
Montreal
Saskatchewan 9/7/14 3:00 PM
Winnipeg
Minnesota 15 1st Qtr 3:15
Phoenix 20

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: How many games will the Vikings win this season?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close