This past Saturday, Chicago Blackhawk Patrick Kane amongst other notable names surrounding Chicago sports and the Blackhawks participated in a charity hockey game which helped to raise nearly $50k for the Special Olympics.
The Second Annual Chicago Hockey Charity Classic
Last year’s version of this game, held at the Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva, brought in almost 1,700 spectators and raised approximately $139,500. This year the game was brought to Chicago and the MB Ice Arena because of scheduling issues between players.
Players, as in Reid Simpson, Ian Cole of the Colorado Avalanche, Craig Smith of the Nashville Predators and Garret Sparks, a goaltender from Elmhurst currently in the Maple Leafs’ system.
Players, as in former Blackhawks Ryan Hartman and Vinnie Hinostroza, Brandon Bollig, and Eric Daze.
Players, as in Kevin Magnuson, son of legendary Chicago defenseman, Keith Magnuson.
Players, as in once-in-a-lifetime talent Patrick Kane.
Players, as in Josh Pauls, a three-time Paralympic gold medalist.
While many of these guys have stories or connections to the Special Olympics, Vinnie Hinostroza has a special one worth telling. According to Madeline Kenney of the Chicago-Sun Times, Vinnie volunteered at a place which served both children and adults with serious developmental disabilities.
"“[My mom and I] liked to go and spend time with the kids,” Hinostroza said. “Go to Halloween parties with them and just have fun and make them smile.”"
Even as a child, Hinostroza made a difference. Now, as a player in the National Hockey League, Vinnie has an opportunity to do so again.
"“It would be a shame if we didn’t use our skills and our talents to give back,” said Hinostroza. “Whenever we have an opportunity to give back to a great cause like this, everyone jumps to the opportunity and everyone has a blast with it."
In addition to Hinostroza, Kane too has loved participating in these events.
"“It was exciting to me last year and then they wanted to do it again this year,” Kane said. “And it was pretty much a no brainer to commit to that and join in the festivities and just say hi to a few people and talk to a few people and play a hockey game with some great guys out here, so it’s for a great cause.”"
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All in all, this year’s game brought in about $50k for the Special Olympics. An event like this brings a lot of good and joy for a countless number of individuals surrounding the Special Olympics. One of whom, though (not named Hinostroza), is closer to the Blackhawks’ family than you’d think.
Kevin Magnuson, the son of Keith, has now served on the Special Olympics Chicago board for over a decade. Additionally, he’s coming off two years in which he served as president. That said, this year’s Special Olympics charity game was an especially emotional one.
According to John Dietz of the Chicago Daily-Herald, Stan Mikita introduced Kevin’s father to the Special Olympics while the two were teammates in Chicago. Keith later passed away in a car accident in 2003.
"“My dad was hooked,” Kevin said. “We always knew when he had been with athletes during the day (because) he came home with the biggest smile on his face. He would literally would float into the room.”"
In addition, Kevin told Dietz that he dedicated this past weekends game to Stan, who passed away on August 7.
Tons of players came out to support a good cause this past weekend. As fans, we may not be able to singlehandedly raise $50k on our own. However, that doesn’t mean we can’t make a difference.
I, Samuel Boland, now formally challenge all of you to make a difference in someone’s life tomorrow. It can be as simple as smiling or saying hello to a person you may normally not. When you see that person on the street begging for money, pull out a dollar. Maybe wait those couple of extra seconds to hold a door open for someone. When somebody cuts you off during your morning commute, wave them on instead of cussing them out.
Though these actions seem small, you have no idea how big of a difference you could make in somebody’s life.