NHLPA Beard-A-Thon Raises Over $50K in First Round of Playoffs

TORONTO (April 28, 2011) – Following an exciting first round of the playoffs, the National Hockey League Players’ Association (NHLPA) and the Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF) are pleased to announce that the NHLPA Beard-a-thon has already raised over $50,000. The money raised goes towards the Foundation purchasing Automated External Defibrillators (AEDs) for local hockey arenas and communities across Canada. As the second round is set to begin, the NHLPA will be matching the first $50 pledge that each beard growing participant receives prior to May 14th.                                    

The NHLPA Beard-a-thon continues until the final game of the playoffs and both organizations are optimistic the amount of money raised will continue to grow.

NHL players such as Scott Hartnell (“Chairman of the Beard”), Patrice Bergeron, Dan Cleary, Dan Hamhuis, Ryan Kesler, Brooks Laich, Jamal Mayers, Mason Raymond, and Martin St. Louis continue to participate in the NHLPA Beard-a-thon by growing out their playoff beards and seeking pledges. Close to 500 people – consisting of both NHL players and fans – are registered to grow a beard as part of the NHLPA Beard-a-thon, with over 1,000 pledges made so far for a total of more than $50,000.

“It is great to see hockey fans across Canada support the Heart and Stroke Foundation through the NHLPA Beard-a-thon,” said Dan Hamhuis, Vancouver Canucks defenceman, who has currently raised the second most among all beard growers in Canada and the most among NHL players. “Hopefully, more people will sign up to grow a beard or pledge someone so that we can keep the dollars increasing!”

“With hockey fever gripping Canada, the Heart and Stroke Foundation is thrilled that more than 1,000 pledges have been made already by participating fans in the NHLPA Beard-a-thon to help us raise $50,000 in just the first round of the playoffs,” says Irfhan Rawji, Chair, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. “Contributions from our donors over the course of the 2011 playoffs will go a long way towards ensuring we create a cardiac safe Canada for everyone.”

Hockey fans can grow a beard of their own and seek out pledges, or make a pledge to their favourite beard grower – player or fellow fan – simply by visiting www.beardathon.ca. Remember, it is never too late to join in supporting the cause.

Starting today and continuing until 11:59 PM ET on May 13th, the NHLPA will make a $50 donation to the online profile of the first 200 NHLPA Beard-a-thon participants who increase their donations by $50 or more, matching up to $10,000 in total pledges among beard growers. The NHLPA intends for this matching program to help beard growers reach their fundraising goals and, more importantly, help save lives across Canada. The opportunity to grow does not stop there, as there will be a great prize for the most money raised during the second round. The fantastic prize will be an authentic, autographed jersey of the fan’s choice!

Proceeds raised in the NHLPA Beard-a-thon will go towards HSF purchasing AEDs to place in local hockey arenas and community centres nationwide, and will be allocated based on the local province where each donation is made; donations made outside of Canada will go towards the home province of the player or fan who is receiving the pledge. As many as 45,000 cardiac arrests occur each year across Canada.  Research shows that the first three minutes are the most important when helping someone who suffers cardiac arrest. The use of an AED with CPR before the arrival of Emergency Medical Services can increase the chance of survival by up to 75 percent.

Hockey fans everywhere can log-on to www.beardathon.ca or www.nhlpa.com for more information on the NHLPA Beard-a-thon. Every day during the playoffs, a “Beard of the Day” is chosen online, with the winner receiving a prize. The fan who raises the most money in the NHLPA Beard-a-thon will receive the grand prize: an all-expenses paid trip for two to watch Scott and his team play next season where they will meet Scott and will also receive signed jerseys and spending money. There are other great prizes to be won as well, including merchandise, signed photos and jerseys.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL HOCKEY LEAGUE PLAYERS’ ASSOCIATION:

The National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA), established in 1967, is a labour organization whose members are the players in the National Hockey League (NHL). The NHLPA works on behalf of the players in varied disciplines such as labour relations, product licensing, marketing, international hockey and community relations, all in furtherance of its efforts to promote its members and the game of hockey. In 1999, the NHLPA launched the Goals & Dreams fund as a way for the players to give something back to the game they love. Over the past 11 years, more than 60,000 deserving children in 25 countries have benefited from the players' donations of hockey equipment. NHLPA Goals & Dreams has donated more than $20-million to grassroots hockey programs, making it the largest program of its kind. For more information on the NHLPA, please visit www.nhlpa.com.

ABOUT THE HEART AND STROKE FOUNDATION:

The Heart and Stroke Foundation, a volunteer-based health charity, leads in eliminating heart disease and stroke and reducing their impact through the advancement of research and its application, the promotion of healthy living, and advocacy. www.heartandstroke.ca

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