Devils and Goya Help Collect Over 70,000 Pounds of Food for Various New Jersey Charities

In this season of giving, organizations large and small give to many different charities. The Devils, in collaboration with Goya – “the largest Hispanic food company owned in the United States” according to the team’s press release on their website, helped gather over 70,000 pounds of food. Some of the food was collected during the Devils’ annual food drive held during a run of home games during November.

The food, which amounted to over 2,000 meals according to the press release, will benefit a local organization called Transfernation which will help “community organizations around Newark and northern New Jersey.”

The food drive was held in partnership with Goya, who “agreed to match up to 40,000 pounds of food collected by the Devils’ drives” – the Devils also had a food drive held by their employees and employees of Prudential Center – “which has been donated to the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.”

Transfernation is “a food rescue service that collects cooked and unserved food, that is then distributed to organizations that serve homeless, low-income individuals and others in need, making Prudential Center the first arena to partner with the organization.” The press release says that the Devils and Prudential Center have donated over 1,881 pounds of food to this cause.

The release mentions that this year’s numbers exceeded the numbers from last season and the Community FoodBank of New Jersey, it said is “the largest anti-hunger and anti-poverty organization in New Jersey that began more than 40 years ago in downtown Newark.” Devils employees, the Devils players, Goya employees, Prudential Center employees and Devils Alumni will later volunteer time “to sort and pack a portion of the 40,000-pound donation at the Community FoodBank of New Jersey. The bagged meals will then be distributed to Newark families in need.”

The 1,881 pounds of food will equal about 1,568 meals. That food comes from unused food at Devils home games throughout October and November. That food will be donated in partnership with Transfernation. According to the release “Transfernation’s idea began in a New York University dorm room between two college juniors, Hannah Dehradunwala and Samir Goel, who were stunned by the amount of excess food being discarded after campus events.” The movement begun at NYU “has expanded to 20 contractors and 16 community organizations throughout the tri-state area.”

Transfernation started to collect “cooked and unserved food from all New Jersey Devils home games on Oct. 11. Legends, Prudential Center’s official hospitality partner, prepares and executes the donation to Transfernation which then gets distributed among the various beneficiaries.”

The beneficiaries for 2018-19 “include Integrity House, Catholic Charities of the Archdioceses of Newark, St. John’s Soup Kitchen and Goodwill Rescue Mission/The Bowery Mission.”

The press release then mentioned that Transfernation has “enhanced New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center’s relationships with the selected beneficiaries” because they give more options for the company to work with for their Give 82 initiative.

The release says that on the first Friday of each month, the Devils players and Prudential Center employees help give back by serving lunch at St. John’s Soup Kitchen and prepare/serve meals each month at Goodwill Rescue Mission/The Bowery Mission and the Community FoodBank of New Jersey.

Devils Show Hockey Is For Everyone All Year ‘Round

Caela McLoughlin of the NewJerseyDevils.com (the team’s official website) had an interesting piece up today that I thought I would like to highlight. It was on the various ways that the Devils participate in the “Hockey Is For Everyone” initiative put forth by the NHL.

As McLoughlin said in her article, Hockey Is For Everyone “aims to teach hockey to all who are interested and build more inclusive hockey communities that drive positive social change.”

She talked about the Devils’ support for the Special Olympics New Jersey. According to McLoughlin, “(f)rom June through November, the Devils joined with Special Olympics New Jersey for the organization’s inaugural year of the Lear to Skate program – the first of its kind in the Special Olympics movement.” She said that five rinks participated (all of whom are affiliated with the Devils as rink partners) throughout the state. At each of the sessions at the rink, “the Devils provided on-ice support and off-ice education about the sport of hockey to Special Olympics athletes and their families.”

McLoughlin said that the rink partners “donated, in total, 25 hours of ice time for the Special Olympics New Jersey Learn to Skate.” Now, for anyone who played hockey or has had someone in their family play hockey, they know that this is no small thing. Ice time is very valuable to rinks and in demand. So the rinks were really providing a great service to Special Olympics New Jersey and that is nice to see.

In addition, McLoughlin said that “(i)ndividuals from local hockey clubs also volunteered as instructors for the sessions.” She also said that “(t)he program also connected people with intellectual and developmental disabilities to local ice hockey, figure skating, and speed skating teams through Special Olympics New Jersey, USA Hockey and American Special Hockey Association.”

On another track, the Devils, on Monday against the Lightning, celebrated International Day of Disabled Persons. In recognition of this, nine-year-old Joel Tapia of the Woodbridge Warriors Sled Hockey Team was named Junior Captain of the Game. The Devils have done the Junior Captain of the Game before, most notably during Hockey Fights Cancer Night.

McLoughlin mentioned Joel’s role in being the Junior Captain. He got to high five the players as they came out of the locker room before the game and got to line up with the team on the blue line during the national anthem. He was introduced to the crowd by PA Announcer Kevin Clark as well.

In addition to all of this, McLoughlin says that the Devils will be celebrating American Special Hockey Association (ASHA) Night on Friday, December 14 when the Devils face the Vegas Golden Knights. She said that “(t)he Devils will have one representative from each of the five local ASHA clubs join the team on the blue line for hte National Anthem. ASHA will also be the 50/50 beneficiary that evening, where fans can donate by participating in the raffle.”

For more information, you can read Caela’s article over at the Devils’ official site¬†here.

Lauren Boyle to Become Hockey Fights Cancer Ambassador

According to a story on the Devils’ official website and on the NHL app, Brian Boyle’s wife, Lauren, was “named an official Hockey Fights Cancer ambassador” by the NHL and the NHLPA.

Her husband was, of course, diagnosed with Chronic Myeloid Leukemia back in September of 2017. He recently announced that the cancer has gone into remission.

The story on the Devils’ site says that her duties will include NHL.com publishing “special columns by Lauren this month detailing her personal experience” of being a support system for her husband. There will also be an interview on NHL.com with Lauren and last year’s ambassador for Hockey Fights Cancer, Nicholle Anderson (the wife of Ottawa Senators goalie Craig Anderson who is herself a cancer survivor).

In addition, Lauren will also bring awareness to the Hockey Fights Cancer initiative – which is celebrating 20 years this season – by “offering her time and making appearances throughout the month.”

The Devils will have their Hockey Fights Cancer night on Friday, November 23 against the New York Islanders. That game starts at 4 PM. For more information on Hockey Fights Cancer, please visit HockeyFightsCancer.com.

The American Cancer Society and the Canadian Cancer Society will be partnering with Hockey Fights Cancer for a second straight season. More info can be found at the American Cancer Society’s website cancer.org.

Fans can use the hashtag #HockeyFightsCancer on social media or visit HockeyFightsCancer.com to download an “I Fight For” card. They can also purchase Hockey Fights Cancer merchandise at shop.NHL.com.

In addition to the Hockey Fights Cancer campaign, the NHL and NHLPA will also be partnering with the Movember Foundation (focused on men’s health) for the sixth year. This was an initiative that was big with former Devil Adam Henrique and he continues that work in his new home of Anaheim. For more information on Movember, please visit Monetwork.co/NHL.

Blake Coleman Starts “Pickles Pals” Program to Benefit Boys and Girls Club

Blake Coleman has gained some notoriety through his pickle juice consumption. Now he is using that notoriety as a way to give back to the community. The Devils center yesterday officially launched “Pickles Pals,” a program to help underprivileged youth in Newark.

Coleman famously drinks pickle juice as a way to alleviate muscle cramps, making use of the electrolytes available in the brine. A TV camera caught him drinking this unusual sports drink in the penalty box last season during a game against the Avalanche and since then it has taken on a life of it’s own. From fans bringing an inflatable pickle with his jersey on it to the rink to goalie Keith Kinkaid using a pickle emoji to represent Coleman in Kinkaid’s postgame tweets, Coleman has seen and embraced his role as the “pickleman.”

Now he is using that and his standing as a professional athlete to give back to those less fortunate in the community. As Coleman told MSG+’s Erika Wachter during last night’s postgame show, he felt that he was fortunate to grow up in a privileged situation and he wants to help kids who do not have that advantage in life.

“Pickles Pals” will support the Salvation Army Boys and Girls Club of Newark Ironbound (BGCN). He has also created a line of merchandise (which he told Wachter was designed by his sister) and pickle juice, called P20, that has raised money for Newark-based charities. The merchandise is available at the Devils Den Team Store at Prudential Center or online at www.coleman20.com.

According to the press release put out by the Devils, “Pickles Pals” looks “inspire young people to read and embrace education while providing a fun learning environment.” It will “give back to the community by developing academic programs and securing necessary supplies with the purpose of providing kids of BGCN with resources needed to achieve their academic goals.”

Similar to Cory Schneider’s “Cory’s Keepers” initiative, “Pickles Pals” will also allow members of the BGCN to attend Devils home games and join in a postgame meet and greet with Coleman. The press release says that the first such game where this will be done is the Sunday, December 23 game against the Blue Jackets.

Coleman’s pickle juice consumption became a bit of a phenomenon, with the player and his “interesting/shocking drink of choice” being focused on in outlets such as CBS This Morning, Sports Illustrated, MSG Network, Food & Wine and Sportsnet according to the press release. Coleman saw the attention he was receiving and decided this was “an opportunity to have a powerful positive influence and wanted to give back to the Newark Community.”

The press release also states that while “Pickles Pals” is committed to helping kids academically, it also will serve as “an empathetic ear” and that Coleman will try to serve “as a positive role-model.”

Devils and RWJBarnabas Health to Present Second Annual Running with the Devils

For the second year in a row, RWJBarnabas Health and the New Jersey Devils will present “Running with the Devils” a charity 5K run and walk. The event takes place Saturday, November 3 at the Essex County South Mountain Recreation Complex in West Orange, New Jersey.

According to a brochure I received in the mail today, “(p)roceeds from the event will benefit programs and services at RWJBarnabas Health’s 11 hospital facilities, Hospice, Behavioral Health, and Children’s Specialized Hospital. Participants may designate their facility of choice at registration.”

The brochure further states that “Runners and walkers of all levels are invited.” It is a USATF Certified Course, t-shirts will be given to all participants and medals given to all runners and there will be awards for the top three male, female and child runners. In addition, on the day of the event, there will be free admission to the nearby Turtle Back Zoo, an appearance by Devils mascot NJ Devil and Devils alumni, music, face painting and prizes and souvenirs from the Devils.

There are sponsorship opportunities to appear on the t-shirt, website and donor boards, as well as a route marker sign for the highest level of event sponsor. Sponsorship levels run from $350 to $5,000.

As for participation, adult runners (18 and over) cost $30 for registration while USATF members are $25 and child runners (5 to 17 years old) are $10. There is no cost for children four years old and younger. Walkers are $25 for adult walkers (18 and over) $10 for child walkers (5-17 years of age). Kid walkers four and under are free.

For more information and to sign up, you can visit: https://www.rwjbh.org/giving/rwjbarnabas-health-foundation/special-events/running-with-the-devils/

In other Devils news, if you are going to the home opener against Washington on Thursday, please be aware that due to anticipated inclement weather, the Devils Red Carpet Arrival and pregame Fan Fest will now take place Sunday, October 14 before the home game against San Jose instead of the actual home opener.

The event will take place beginning at 10:15 AM (the Sunday game is a 1 PM faceoff). From 10:30 to 10:45 AM, the Devils will walk the red carpet into Prudential Center. From 10:45 AM to 12:30 PM, Devils Fan Fest will take place in Championship Plaza.

According to the Devils website, the Fan Fest “will include a DJ, outdoor games, the Devils Mobile Experience and more.”

Devils, United Airlines Team Up to Give Back to Newark’s St. Philip’s Academy

According to a press release put out by the Devils today, the club will team up with Prudential Center and United Airlines to form the “Give 82” initiative.

Give 82 will encourage employees of the Devils and Prudential Center “to commit 82 hours of service to make a difference throughout the Garden State communities.”

Today, the organizations teamed up with United Airlines (who are the presenting sponsor) to surprise students at the St. Philip’s Academy in Newark with a “new, state-of-the-art outdoor hockey rink.” The press release states that this “further exemplifies the NHL’s commitment of bringing hockey to underserved communities along with giving the children a safe place to play hockey in the city of Newark.”

United Airlines’ logo will appear on the bluelines of the rink.

Miguel Brito, the CEO of Philip’s Academy said: “As everyone knows, outdoor space is scarce in Newark so we are truly thankful to the New Jersey Devils, Prudential Center, and United Airlines for the renovation of our outdoor play area. This gift will impact not only the students of Philip’s Academy, but the entire community that surrounds it. The Devils and Prudential Center ahve been outstanding supporters of Philip’s Academy over the past 18 months and this recent act of generosity is “icing” on the cake!”

Prudential Center and its employees have been assisting the Newark community for some time. The arena’s workers have been involved with “feeding the homeless at St. John’s Soup Kitchen or Goodwill Rescue Mission, visiting local Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCA’s and schools or packaging nonperishable goods during the holidays for underserved individuals and families.”

The Give 82 program and the assistance from United Airlines will only strengthen the bonds between the team, the arena and the community. Jeff Scott, Devils Vice President of Community Investments and Grassroots said “(o)ur partnership with United Airlines allows us to further our charitable efforst while growing the game of hockey throughout our underserved communities. We are looking forward to our future projects together, creating lasting memories and making a difference in the lives of many.”

For United Airlines’ part, Jill Kaplan, President, New York/New Jersey, had this to say: “Being a proud partner of Prudential Center and the New Jersey Devils is an exciting and rewarding opportunity for United Airlines as these organizations align to our commitment of supporting our local community and our core values as a company. It is our mission to connect people and unite the world, and this partnership enacts that motto into action.”

United is also a “partner of other leading cultural institutions” in Newark, including the New Jersey Performing Arts Center, Newark Museum and Lincoln Park Coast Cultural District.

Kyle Palmieri to Form the “Kyle Palmieri Foundation”

The Devils and Kyle Palmieri yesterday announced that the right wing and his fiancee, Ashlee Casper, will be launching the Kyle Palmieri Foundation.

According to the official press release, “(t)he mission of the Kyle Palmieri Foundation is to give back to those who put their lives on the line to preserve our freedoms as Americans.”

Kyle had previously started “Squad21” which allowed active military as well as veterans and their families to attend Devils games. Squad21 eventually evolved into this new Foundation, although according to the press release, it will live on as a part of the Foundation.

This new venture will “raise funds for various programs that benefit the military community.”

The Montvale, New Jersey-native had the following to say regarding his new Foundation: “There are endless challenges facing our nation’s military service members and veterans. We hope to help ease some of these challenges by providing support through The Kyle Palmieri Foundation and through our partnerships with NMFA, SWAN, and Vets for Pets. Each of these organizations provides invaluable supports and services, and the Foundation looks to help expand their incredible work. We’re proud to offer our help as a way to say thank you to the brave men and women who are serving and have served our country.”

The Foundation’s efforts began this week, according to the press release, as Palmieri was participating in the Morgan Hoffman Celebrity Pro-Am Charity Golf Outing yesterday and will take part in the Northern Trust Celebrity Pro-Am tomorrow.

The three official military nonprofits that are supported by The Kyle Palmieri Foundation are:

– Squad21

– Service Women’s Action Network (SWAN) – which advocates for the individual and collective needs of military women. “They are committed to seeing that all service women receive the opportunities, protections, benefits and respect they deserve.” SWAN helps the nearly 2.5 million women active duty and veteran members of the US military.

– National Military Family Association (NMFA) – which strengthens and protects “the families of the men and women currently serving, retired, wounded or fallen.” It helps families members of service people from all branches of the military get information on benefits “and offers programs that improve their lives.”

– Pets for Vets – which “was created to improve the lives of both Veterans and animals by bringing them together in a thoughtful, caring way. They provide veterans with pets while also giving loving homes to the animals.

Palmieri, of course, has deep roots when it comes to the military. His sister, Taylor and his brother-in-law Stephen currently serve in the National Guard and the US Army, making this a very personal venture for Kyle and the Palmieri family.

Devils Partner with DREAM Newark for Day of Service

The Devils organization celebrated a day of service on August 7 with DREAM Newark according to a press release put out on the team’s official site.

DREAM (formerly Harlem RBI according to the press release) “continued its partnership with the New Jersey Devils, Prudential Center and The Harris Family Charitable Foundation with a day of service and celebration on Tuesday, Aug. 7 in Newark.”

DREAM was recognizing Devils owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer “for their commitment to the community.” The day featured activities which showed how sports and education can positively influence kids. According to the press release, a press conference, media availability and youth enrichment activities were held.

The release also said that DREAM Newark is run by Harris and Blitzer and that the two are long time supporters of the DREAM initiative.

It also said that The Harris Family Charitable Foundation helped to “fund a grant to DREAM Network for a literacy program, as well as to provide youth access to the powerful benefits of playing baseball and softball.” Both Harris and Blitzer “have contributed significantly to supporting DREAM’s infrastructure and ability to reach thousands of youth in our area each year.”

In other hockey news, we would like to extend our condolences to the family, friends and fans of hockey legend Stan Mikita. The Hockey Hall of Famer and Chicago Blackhawk great passed away earlier today at the age of 78. Mr. Mikita played his entire 22-year NHL career with the Blackhawks, retiring in 1980. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1983. He was also named one of the NHL’s 100 Greatest Players in 2017 during the league’s centennial celebrations.

After immigrating to Canada with his aunt and uncle (leaving behind his mother and father) following the communist takeover of his native Czechoslovakia in 1948 when he was just eight years old, Mikita (born Stanislav Gvoth – he later took his aunt and uncle’s last name) settled in St. Catharines, Ontario.

In St. Catharines, he quickly took to the game of hockey. He was signed by the Blackhawks when he was just 13 years old and played for the Hawks’ Ontario Hockey Association affiliate, the St. Catharines Teepees. He was called up to Chicago at 19 years old in 1958-59, beginning a career that would see him win the Hart Trophy twice (1967 and 1968), the Art Ross Trophy four times (1964, 1965, 1967 and 1968), the Lady Byng Trophy twice (1967 and 1968) and the Stanley Cup in 1961. He was also an eight time all-star.

He is the Blackhawks’ all-time leader in games played (1,394), assists (926) and points (1,467). His number 21 was retired by the Blackhawks.

For a younger generation, he will be remembered for his appearance in the movie Wayne’s World in 1992. The movie took place in the Chicago area and featured a donut shop named after him as a parody of the real-life Tim Horton’s donut chain.

Once again, our thoughts are with the family and friends of Mr. Mikita in this tough time.

Devils to Again Host Beach Bash

The Devils will once again be hosting their annual Beach Bash on Saturday, August 18 at Jenkinson’s North Inlet in Point Pleasant Beach, New Jersey.

Tickets are $45 for both Season Ticket Members and non-Members. The Members get a beach badge for Jenkinson’s, access to the Beach Bash activities, a custom Devils Beach Bash hat, unlimited BBQ and unlimited soft beverages. They also get one free drink ticket and a Member exclusive area with access to current players and alumni.

The non-Members get everything except the free drink voucher and the access to the Member area with players and alumni.

In addition, the Devils have a Frequently Asked Questions section on the ticket-buying page (here) that says that parking is $25 and located at 3 Broadway in Point Pleasant Beach.

The rain date is Sunday, August 19. If the event does take place on the scheduled rain date, refunds for tickets will not be available. The FAQ says that if it rains all weekend (August 18 and 19), then the event will be canceled and refunds will be given. They will be administered beginning Monday, August 20, 2018. The Devils are also not responsible for refunds if you purchase the tickets through third parties (including Jenkinson’s). Your best bet is to buy them from the above link. In other words, refunds are only given on tickets purchased through the Devils if the event is canceled due to rain that weekend. Each ticket is obviously only good for one person’s admission.

If you are a beach badge holder for 2018 at Jenkinson’s, you can go to the Beach Bash entrance with your badge and fill out a form to get in. The FAQ says that you can upgrade on site to get the unlimited food and soft beverage package.

This is always a fun, community-based event that helps the Devils reach out to fans around the state of New Jersey. It is a cool thing that they have been doing as they get fans at the Jersey Shore primed for the new hockey season.

Again, visiting the above link is the best way to learn more about the event and buy tickets if you are interested.

Devils to Hold First-Ever “Sleep Out”

The New Jersey Devils will be holding a “Sleep Out” at Prudential Center’s Championship Plaza after the game on March 24 versus Tampa Bay. This event will help raise funds for Covenant House New Jersey, a charity that benefits homeless youth.

You help by either joining in on the Sleep Out and participating directly, or by donating money directly to the goal of $250,000. Participation (more specifically a donation of $50 or more) gets you a voucher for tickets to the Devils’ March 27th game against the Carolina Hurricanes.

Devils alumni and employees will be participating as well as fans. The Devils’ website (NewJerseyDevils.com/Sleepout) has a frequently asked question section that says that the safety of all involved is taken into account. According to the FAQ, “indoor space remains available throughout the night.”

The money raised goes to Covenant House New Jersey a charity that operates shelters for kids in need. The donordrive.com site for the event says that you will “spend an evening getting to know some of the young people whose lives will be better because of your efforts on their behalf – and spend the rest of the night sleeping on the street in their place.”

Covenant House not only provides shelter for homeless youth, it also provides “wrap-around services, including education and job training, so they can move forward to an adulthood free of poverty and the threat of homelessness.”

Once you sign up, the Covenant House is asking that you work towards a $1,000 fundraising goal. Everyone is encouraged to attend, adults 23 and older can participate alone (and friends and family can attend as long as they register in advance), children 13 and older must be accompanied by an adult.

The FAQ asks that you “approach the event with an open heart, an open mind, and a willingness to work hard for something outside of your comfort zone.”

The FAQ also mentions that you wear weather-appropriate clothing, bring personal toiletries and medications and your smartphone. They will provide you with a new sleeping bag or you can bring your own. They ask that you do not bring luxury bedding items like pillows, as this is an event “to sleep rough for one night in solidarity with homeless kids.” They also do not recommend that you bring any valuable items (aside from your smartphone) and that you do not bring alcohol, as this is a dry event.

You can register at newjerseydevils.com/sleepout or contact tdipietro@covenanthouse.org or call 973-286-3425 for more information.