Community giving has deep meaning for Tuch

A holiday toy drive is just the latest way Alex Tuch is giving back as he continues to grow the AT9 Foundation.

Community giving has deep meaning for Tuch

Feature Photo: X / @BuffaloSabres

Alex Tuch has received unwavering support from the Buffalo Sabres fan base since landing with the team he cheered for growing up.

In his latest show of gratitude for the city he calls home, the forward is getting into the holiday spirit by giving back to the children of Buffalo.

From November 24 until December 13, Tuch, is teaming up with local businesses and 97 Rock, a classic rock station, to collect new toys for Seneca Street CDC a nonprofit organization that offers free youth programs in the Seneca Babcock area of Buffalo.

“I have been wanting to engrain myself in the Buffalo community as much as possible,” said Tuch, who was born in Syracuse, New York. “My wife, Kylie, and I love Christmastime so much, everything about it. We know how lucky we are, and we see this as the perfect time to give back.”

Tuch, who was the Sabres’ King Clancy Memorial Trophy nominee for the 2022-23 season, has received widespread support from the Buffalo community for the toy drive.

It comes as no surprise to the 27-year-old.

“The toy drive was something that came to mind and it’s hopefully something we can do on an annual basis. We want to help as many underprivileged kids as we can with the toy drive. We have had a lot of great help from the people at Delta Sonic, 97 Rock and Dave and Adam’s, who all stepped up right away to help with this. It’s been amazing to see that response.”   

Helping others has long been a staple in Tuch’s life.

His family has been fundraising for various causes long before his NHL career began, a major reason why he and his family established the AT9 Foundation in 2019. A nonprofit organization, AT9’s primary goal is to assist children currently facing challenges in all areas of their lives, with a special focus on supporting research to end childhood cancer and help those with special needs.

“I have always believed I was put on this planet not only to play hockey but to use my platform and good fortune to help others who are less fortunate,” said Tuch, who brings out deserving kids and their families to watch Buffalo home games in a suite throughout the season.

“When I see kids going through cancer … it really hits me. They have no control over that. If I can put a smile on one kid’s face, then that means I did my job that day. To have the foundation and doing the toy drive is something very important to me.”

In the summer of 2022, Tuch presented Syracuse’s Golisano Center for Special Needs with a $120,000 donation. The forward, who served as honorary co-chair of the Upstate Foundation's campaign for the Golisano Center, which raised more than $6.5 million, is hoping to do more through his foundation in the future.

Tuch is constantly looking at ways for AT9 to broaden its scope within the community since joining the Sabres in November 2021.

“I have been trying to figure out a way to roll it out in Buffalo and make it more well known around town, but first and foremost, it’s about helping the city and people as much as possible. When I see how much charity work is done in Buffalo and how much people care, it means a lot to see how tight-knit the city is and you want to be part of that. We are constantly talking about things we can do through the foundation, now and in the future.”

For now, the toy drive will be the focus in the city for Alex and Kylie, who will soon welcome their first child, feeling right at home.

Off to a strong start to the 2023-24 season with 16 points through his first 19 games, Tuch is grateful to find himself in a position to make an impact outside of the arena.

“Growing up a Sabres fan, it was always a dream of mine to play for the team, so to see how everyone teammates, the organization, the fans, and a lot of others has welcomed us, it’s been a lot of fun, and it has become our home. We built a house here and we are getting close to having our first child, so those are some other things that make Buffalo so special to us. We hope people know how much being here means to us.”