A Good ‘Ladd’ In The Community

When Ladd, captain of the Winnipeg Jets, set out to raise money and awareness for two local causes through a recent charity event in Manitoba’s capital, he quickly learned a couple of things: it was a lot more work in putting it together than he expected and the number of people wiling to help was more than he could have ever imagined.

“I suppose the easiest part of it all is in coming up with the actual idea itself,” said Ladd, of the November 17 game that featured members of the Winnipeg Police Service Patrolmen Hockey Club and several NHLPA members split into two teams. “That didn’t take too long, but all of the other components, the planning, the meetings, ensuring that every part of the event goes smoothly – it gets very involved.”

Fortunately, for Ladd, the end result was a packed house, two happy charities in the Dream Factory, a Manitoba-based charity that grants wishes to children with life-threatening illnesses, and the Children’s Hospital Foundation.

It turned out to be the proverbial perfect ending, one Ladd had anticipated, despite some trepidation in the days leading up to the game.

The two-time Stanley Cup winner points to timely assists from several sources before and during the event, as the key in making it go smoothly.

“Things take off so quickly and time isn’t always on your side,” said the fourth overall selection in the 2004 Entry Draft. “You tend to figure out early on that there are so many parts to something like this. You can’t really expect to do everything.

“That’s why I was so fortunate,” he continued. “You get a helping hand from so many people. Whether its people volunteering their time, sponsors, local businesses – so many people had a hand in making it happen.”

He also knew he could count on the players for their support.

“One of the best things about being a hockey player is feeling that connection to your community,” offered Ladd, who had 28 goals and 50 points for the Jets in 2011-12. “Guys don’t get involved because they feel they have to. They want to. And that was really nice to see. We had plenty of guys come out for this. For us, it was a lot of fun.”

Mark Stuart, Jonathan Toews, Shea Weber, Duncan Keith, Mike Richards, Brian Little, Olli Jokinen, Jim Slater, Zach Bogosian, Tanner Glass, Shane Hnidy, Ryan Reaves, Troy Brouwer, Colin Wilson, Gregory Campbell, Andrew Reimer, Chris Mason and Ryan Garbutt played in the game and along with Ladd, signed autographs before the drop of the puck.

The biggest lesson learned in all of this for Ladd?

“This was just like what goes on inside any team sport,” he said. “You need to rely on everyone in order for you to achieve that end goal. That’s something I definitely took away from this experience. I consider myself lucky to have had such widespread help. It’s nice to know you can always count on others to step up.”

Just like Andrew Ladd always has.
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