Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Goal: AK-Grown Hockey Star Wants More Kids On The Ice
Scotty Gomez and celebrity friends take to the greens to raise money so Anchorage children can have a crack on the ice
ANCHORAGE—Stanley Cup winner and hometown National Hockey League player Scotty Gomez is an Alaska-grown success story.
Gomez’s efforts off the ice to get more kids on the ice have people all over North America converging in Anchorage, and that’s made Gomez a hometown hero.
Gomez said he’s made it to where he is because of the Anchorage community, so he's giving back by bringing his friends every year. The goal is to give more children the same opportunities he had.
Gomez is certainly not a golf professional, but that's okay for the NHL star for the Montreal Canadiens, because he's swinging to get more Alaskan kids to play hockey.
It’s a sport that many families can't afford because ice time and gear are costly. Gomez said he remembers the financial challenges the hobby posed when stayed at the Boys & Girls Club.
“It is expensive to play,” Gomez said. “Not every kid gets the opportunity, and that’s why the foundation, that's one thing we did—we want to give back.”
Fourteen of Gomez’s famous friends agree it’s a worthy goal—pros like David Desharnais, Joey Crabb and Willie O'Ree came from all over the continent to help.
“Giving back not only to the sport, but giving back to the community and reaching out and letting these boys and girls know that there is another sport they can play,” said O’Ree, the first African-American to play in the NHL. “If they can't afford it, we'll take care of the expenses.”
”He wants everybody to come here to help kids, to give some of our money, and give some of our jerseys for the auction and stuff,” said David Desharnais, who is one of Gomez’s Canadiens teammates
The event was not just about hockey and helping kids. The athletes also got to enjoy time in the Alaska sun.
“Whether it’s hockey or basketball, it’s all the same,” said Luke Walton. “It’s a foundation that helps kids out. They do an unbelievable job here. I'm happy to be a part of it and happy to help raise money for these kids.”
In the end, it doesn't matter which pro wins, because there will be a new set of kids calling hockey their sport.
Gomez said it’s all about being able “to give back to my home state and a community I love and hold dear to my heart.”
The hockey star said Anchorage is “just a place that's done me and family right.”
The money raised from Gomez’s golf tournament and Wednesday’s auction came from sponsors all across Alaska.
Gomez said all the proceeds will go toward buying hockey equipment and gear for kids, and maintaining local ice rinks like the one Gomez trained on while growing up in Airport Heights.