Grier, Salvador Coaching in Prestigious Tournament

Devils Assistant Coach Mike Grier and Devils/MSG+ TV analyst Bryce Salvador will be taking a team made up of minority players to a prestigious tournament according to William Douglas on NHL.com.

Grier and Salvador, both former NHL players – with Salvador serving as Devils captain (the third black player to serve as an NHL captain in league history) from 2013 until his retirement – will be coaching “the NextGen AAA Foundation’s team at the invitation-only Beantown Summer Classic in Exeter, New Hampshire from Aug. 8-11” according to Douglas in his “Color of Hockey” article on August 4.

The team, which is a part of the NextGen Foundation, a nonprofit “that provides mentoring, education and hockey programs to underprivileged youth and underserved communities. It was founded in 2017 by philanthropist Dee Dee Ricks, who has provided more than $1 million to help Black and brown student-athletes at some of the nation’s leading preparatory schools, colleges and travel hockey programs throughout North America.”

The team was “recruited by Rod Braceful, the assistant director of player personnel for USA Hockey’s National Development Team” according to Douglas.

The team will feature some great talent, as forward Reggie Millette will be attending American International College in 2021-22, defenseman Christian Jimenez will suit up for Harvard in the same season and forward Ross Mitton will play at Colgate this upcoming season.

Grier said: “I’m extremely happy and grateful to work with this group of talented players. The game of hockey continues to increase the number of diverse players with the talent and skill to compete in college, in the minors, and the NHL, and supporting organizations like NextGen, who develop those pathways, is vital.”

The NextGen AAA Foundation team competing in the Beantown Summer Classic comes on the heels of Matt Dumba of the Minnesota Wild making a great appeal to the entire sport of hockey in an effort to end racism in the opening to the Stanley Cup Qualifying round in Edmonton on Saturday. Dumba’s speech has been widely applauded and his message of inclusion in the sport is something that has to be listened to if we are to move forward. It was a great message and shows that the face of hockey is not one color or gender, but rather a mix of many different faces.

NHL Senior Executive Vice President of Social Impact, Growth Initiatives and Legislative Affairs, Kim Davis told Douglas: “NextGen is carving out a pipeline of diverse, elite-level hockey talent. We believe that in the near future, more teams across the continent will feature more players of color, and this NextGen team is a strong signal that we are moving closer to that day.”

The Beantown Summer Classic takes place in Exeter, New Hampshire from August 8 to 11, 2020 and will be sponsored by the NHL and Pure Hockey.

In other (power outage-backed up) news, the Devils have initiated a program to benefit Newark Working Kitchens.

The team, in partnership with Prudential Center and sponsors Investors Bank and RWJBarnabas Health, have announced Donate a Plate. This is “a virtual fundraiser benefitting Newark Working Kitchens.” This will enlist “local restaurants to deliver nutritious meals to vulnerable populations across Newark, including low-income seniors and families, the homeless, and others.”

Investors Bank and RWJBarnabas Health are kicking things off by donating 500 meals each to the initiative. The Devils and “their Premium Seating Partners” have matched that with 1,000 meals. All totaled, that comes to 2,000 meals for those in need.

The press release put out by the Devils says that “fans have a chance to participate in the giving by creating their own donation pages to share with family and friends. At the conclusion of the month-long fundraiser, the top three donors will receive a future Devils Premium Seating Experience at Prudential Center.”

Jillian Frechette, Senior Vice President, Marketing, New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center said: “We are grateful to Investors Bank and RWJBarnabas Health for joining us in our mission to support Newark residents and the local restaurants which continue to provide meals during this time. On and off the ice, Newark is our home and our commitment to the community continues to be of the utmost importance. The goal of this virtual fundraiser is to motivate others to support those who are in need because together, with our community, we are one.”

Investors Bank Executive Vice President, Chief Marketing and Product Officer, Dorian Hansen said “We are thrilled to kick off the Donate a Plate virtual fundraiser alongside the New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center. Newark Working Kitchens is making an impact in a city that has been disproportionately hit by COVID-19 and we are proud to support them in their mission. This initiative is a meaningful way that fans can support those who are in need during this time.”

Barry H. Ostrowsky, the President and Chief Executive Officer of RWJBarnabas Health said “Our partnership with the New Jersey Devils is predicated on promoting the importance of healthy and active living, and proper nutrition is such a critical component. During this pandemic, the more vulnerable communities need our support more than ever, and I’m thrilled that through this program we have an opportunity to provide nutritious meals to those in need.”

The Devils had previously donated $200,000 to Newark Working Kitchens through their Devils Care Foundation.

If you would like to participate, the website to visit is: NewJerseyDevils.com/donateaplate.

Devils’ Owners Make Donation to Newark Working Kitchens

In a staff report yesterday on the Devils’ official app, the Devils announced that managing partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer have donated $200,000 to the Newark Working Kitchens.

The Newark Working Kitchens are “a free meal delivery service for Newark residents who are low-income senior, disabled and family housing residents, people without homes, and other vulnerable Newark citizens.” They help “create and sustain jobs while supporting those most critically in need of food.”

According to the piece on the Devils’ app and Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka, NWK has been operating for 12 weeks and “has delivered more than 200,000 meals during” that time. They have helped in “Newark’s recovery by ordering a minimum of 200 meals a week from the 21 participating restaurants.”

The article mentioned that NWK and the City of Newark work together to distribute meals where they are needed the most within the city. It works with tenant associations in the housing residences and with “a growing list of community organizations.” According to the article, these include: Ironbound Community Corporation, Bridges Outreach, Newark Emergency Services for Families, Newark Public Schools, University Hospital, Palm Street Block Association, Newark Homeless Coalition, NJCRI/Crossroads Drop-In Center, Tree House Cares, Willing Heart Community Care Center, Clinton Hill Community Action and the YMCA.

Mayor Baraka said: “Newark Working Kitchens will be able to deliver tens of thousands of meals in the coming weeks while supporting Newark’s talented array of small business entrepreneurs heavily impacted by the events of 2020. Our local restaurants have been very hard hit, and funding NWK allows restaurant employees to return to work and cook for Newark residents in urgent need.”

More information can be found by emailing nwk@audible.com. Audible.com, a company based in Newark, “has been a tremendous corporate partner for the New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center and the organization is happy to join them in this cause” read the article on the Devils’ app.

The Devils, Prudential Center and Devils Care/Youth Foundation have been working with Mayor Baraka’s office in Newark and the State of New Jersey since the pandemic began in March. They made a donation to the City of Newark then “to help facilitate a food assistance gift card program that provides groceries to families in need.”

Then, in April, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment “made a large six-figure donation to RWJBarnabas Heath’s Emergency Response Fund” helping “secure essential personal protective and medical equipment for the 35,000 system employees.” The group also donated “7,000 pairs of gloves, 10,000 hand sanitizer units, and sanitizing wipes and sprays to the RWJBarnabas medical system.

May saw them donate “10,000 tickets for the 2020-21 season to RWJBarnabas Health front-line workers, in conjunction with the ‘Pay it Forward’ Season Ticket Member and Plan Holder ticket donation program.”

Despite the team really patting themselves on the back with some of the wording in this article. For instance, crowing that they were “the lead donation [Mayor Baraka] cited as an inspiration to the other business leaders in Newark and the state to make additional contributions” at the time of the crisis hitting in March, this is a good move by the Devils. It helps struggling families in the city and reaches out to help workers in restaurants keep working. The Devils have been really good in supporting Newark since they moved to the Prudential Center and this continues that positive trend.