The National Hockey League put out a press release today on their website saying that they have joined forces with fourteen professional sports leagues to form “The Real Heroes Project.”
The initiative will “recognize and celebrate healthcare workers on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
According to the press release, athletes will be participating from “the ATP, MLB, MLS, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, NHL, NWSL, USGA, WNBA, WTA and WWE, among other professional and esports leagues, including Activision Blizzard Esports and Electronic Arts.” The athletes will be “dedicating their jerseys and uniforms to a special healthcare hero who is helping their community on the forefront of this global crisis.”
The athletes will be producing public service announcements produced by “creative agency 72andSunny, creative production company Hecho Studios, and media publication Adweek.” The PSAs will debut this Wednesday (May 6) “across league and team platforms.”
Each athlete participating, which for the NHL includes retired former player Wayne Gretzky and current Chicago Blackhawk captain Jonathan Toews, “will share a personal thank you message to their healthcare hero on social media utilizing #TheRealHeroes.” Also, in the PSAs and personal tributes, the “athletes will cover their name on their jerseys or uniforms and replace it with the name of their healthcare hero.”
In addition to Gretzky and Toews, former Canadian women’s hockey gold medalist and current Toronto Maple Leafs Assistant Director of Player Development, Hayley Wickenheiser will be participating in the program representing the NHL.
The program also invites fans of the athletes and leagues and teams in question to participate on social media. Fans can “dedicate their personal jerseys and team apparel to a frontline individual using the hashtag #TheRealHeroes.”