It’s all quiet on the ice, but OHL member teams and their players are staying active away from the rink, taking up the fight against COVID-19 through social distancing and awareness efforts.
Several OHL clubs have reached out to their surrounding communities throughout these unprecedented times while players have provided updates on their lifestyles and activities in past weeks.
We’re magnifying the efforts of the Midwest Division, whose teams have provided an outpouring of support, donations, and positivity.
The Erie Otters have been keeping busy – and they’ve been doing their best to help keep us busy, too. They’ve collaborated with BARDOWN Hockey Apparel for a clothing line that benefits Erie City Mission.
They’re encouraging everyone to get active during their first ever virtual 3K Walk, Run or Ride event set for May 22-24. They also reminded everyone of Highmark’s Walk for a Healthy Community, which has also gone virtual this year.
Fans were treated to the hidden talents of Jamie Drysdale and captain Jack Duff in the first instalment of Otters at Home. Elias Cohen and his pup Crosby have been working on their stick handling and Austen Swankler showed off the skills he’s been working on at home.
They honoured National Nurses Day and recognized front line workers as the super heroes they are. They also gave a shout out to their retail partners with a reminder to shop local.
Lastly, to help keep us occupied at home, they thoughtfully put together a custom Otters bingo card and a colouring sheet.
When it comes to giving back, Guelph Storm alumni have been hard at work.
Former Storm skater Garrett McFadden’s mental health initiative McFadden’s Moment is organizing an NHL 20 tournament with fellow Storm alumni Isaac Ratcliffe and Nate Schnarr and are looking for participants to join them. They’ve dubbed it the “Quaran-tourney”.
The Storm have been saluting front line workers every Tuesday and are asking the public to nominate those they’d like to recognize. Like other teams, they’ve teamed up with BARDOWN Hockey Apparel for a charity merchandise sale. Theirs is benefiting the United Way Guelph Wellington Dufferin COVID Community Response Fund.
Current Dallas stars forward and former Guelph Storm Jason Dickinson played some virtual bingo with some kids from Children’s Bingo as arranged by the Dallas Stars Foundation.
In their first instalment of Foodie Fridays, they shared one of captain Cam Hillis’ favourite recipes for us all to try.
The McGinn brothers, who are from the nearby town of Fergus and include former Storm player Brock McGinn, donated 12 cases of hand sanitizer to Sunny Brook Hospital in Toronto in memory of Edmonton Oilers forward Colby Cave who died in April days after he had emergency surgery for acute obstructive hydrocephalus due to a colloid cyst.
They, too, shared Bruce Power’s powerful video acknowledging front line workers and encouraging everyone to do their part to help flatten the curve. They applauded the Guelph police force’s showing of support for hospital workers.
Current Montreal Canadien and Storm graduate Nick Suzuki had some kind words of appreciation for the healthcare heroes, and fellow former Storm skater Ben Harpur also shared with us his own way of giving back during these trying times.
They also put our minds to the test with some fun activities to pass the time, too.
When it comes to doing their part, it’s been a team effort for the Kitchener Rangers.
The club put together a Bracket challenge to pass the time. Awesome prizes were involved, too. We’ve been given the chance to get to know the team a little more closely with some fun, personal questions courtesy of Rangers Vision.
Their #RTownStrong merchandise will help the Food Bank of Waterloo Region serve those in need during COVID-19.
Donovan Sebrango, Riley Damiani, Michael Vukojevic and Mike Petizian hopped on Instagram to have a discussion with fans, as did past Rangers Gabriel Landeskog, Rickard Hugg and Adam Mascherin. Sebrango has also been practicing his shot, Reid Valade has worked on his stick handling, and Petizian has been working on both.
Jesse Fishman posted some positive words, as did former Rangers captain Ben Fanelli. The team gave some love to local food suppliers and received some kind words from a young fan named Isaiah.
We got a glimpse into how mascot Tex has been quarantining at home, and it looks like he’s been busy working on those Rangers-themed colouring sheets.
The Rangers tweeted out a message of gratitude for the front line workers as well and asked fans to share stories about some of the heroes they know. Former Ranger Nick Spaling’s Spaling Hockey Camp foundation donated $10,000 to Palmerston and District Hospital Foundation. Jeff Skinner was also recognized for his donation of $53,000 to the Foodbank of Waterloo Region.
Oh, and the Rangers are on TikTok, so give them a follow!
The London Knights have certainly been doing their part.
The Knights and London Knights Alumni Foundation donated $12,5000 to the St. Joseph’s Health Crisis Fund for COVID Relief and encouraged fans to offer support though their online 50/50 draw.
Stuart Rolofs, Nathan Dunkley and Luke Evangelista shared the artists, TV shows and movies that are helping them pass the time at home. Dunkley and Ben Roger have also been practicing their movis at home, and Knights alumnus and current Montreal Canadien Max Domi has been working on his skills, too.
The Knights tweeted a big thank you to the front line workers, and The Bud was lit up in blue in support as well.
Hunter Skinner and Jason Willms encouraged fans to stay home and support Ronald McDonald House Charities of Southwestern Ontario. The club also tweeted in support of their partner Collins Clothiers and their Canada Strong program to support small business and healthcare workers.
To keep the kids busy at home, some Knights-themed colouring pages have also been made available for download.
They also posted pictures of players’ puppies, because puppies always make people happy, right?
Owen Sound Attack:
The Owen Sound Attack kickstarted the messages of positivity around the league with a compliment for every team.
Adam McMaster warmed the hearts of hockey fans when he paid a special visit to his grandmother with social distancing rules in mind.
The Attack acknowledged the importance of talking about mental health during these times and tweeted out in support of some local efforts. They’ve also teamed up with BARDOWN Hockey Apparel for a merchandise charity sale.
Their #AskTheAttack series featured Mack Guzda and Mark Woolley answering some burning questions.
Nick Chenard offered some positive words to fans, Nolan Seed read to some kindergarteners and Carter Robertson got a quarantine haircut. Equipment manager Andy Brown delivered a donation of gloves to Grey Bruce Health Services on behalf of the team.
Oh, and Matthew Struthers got impressively creative in his spare time.