Goal-wise, it wasn’t a great season for Thunder Bay’s NHL contingent.
But, in a lockout-shortened season, the brothers Staal and Pyatt, Patrick Sharp and Robert Bortuzzo still managed to collect 52 goals among them, earning $2,600 to help send up to 22 underprivileged children to camp through Tim Hortons Camp Day.
Freedom 55 director Tom Mihaljevic, whose company last year pledged to donate $50 for each goal the local NHLers scored in 2012-13, said the Goals for Kids partnership with Tim Hortons was a natural pairing.
“We will continue to do this and we want to encourage other businesses as well to help out and step up to the plate and provide some kind of funding for the children of not only Thunder Bay, but Northwestern Ontario,” Mihaljevic said Wednesday.
Injured Carolina Hurricanes captain Eric Staal led the local charge with 18 goals this season, followed by younger brother Jordan with 10.
Tampa Bay’s Tom Pyatt scored eight times, while Chicago’s Patrick Sharp, who leads all playoff scorers with eight goals, netted six in just 28 games, missing significant time because of injury.
Tom Pyatt’s older brother, Taylor, had six goals in his debut season with the New York Rangers, while teammate Marc Staal collected just two before being viciously hit in the face with a puck, all but ending his season.
Pittsburgh defenceman Robert Bortuzzo, who scored his first NHL goal against future hall-of-famer Martin Brodeur – with an assist from none other than Sidney Crosby – managed another in limited action to round out the total.
Mihaljevic said he’s hoping no lockout will mean more money for the cause in 2014.
“That was an unfortunate situation, but it did occur, so we’re hoping and anticipating a larger cheque, based on an 82-game schedule throughout the NHL.”
Tim Hortons Camp Day activities continue until midnight Wednesday at franchise locations throughout Thunder Bay.
Waterloo Street restaurant owner Brent Prepp said it’s a great cause and easy to support.
“Every purchase of a coffee throughout North America, all the proceeds go to the Tim Hortons Children’s Foundation, which is six camps across North America, five in Canada and one in the United State,” he said.
“We send a bunch of kids to camp from across Canada and locally from Thunder Bay.”
Prepp added the foundation is building a new leadership camp in Manitoba, which children from both the city and region will be able to use when it opens.
While Wednesday’s one-day blitz provides a huge chunk of the annual donations to the foundation, Prepp added the public can give all year long, either at individual stores or online.
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