📝 by Patrick Williams
“We’re the minor-league team in the major-league market,” Milwaukee Admirals president Jon Greenberg says.
“Our thing here is to just provide as much entertainment around this game that we can in our major-league market and differentiate ourselves from our major-league friends here, and I think that’s how we’re recognized.”
What is not so minor is the Admirals’ charity work dating back to the club’s entry into the American Hockey League in 2001, as well as previous incarnations of the team before that.
This Friday when the archrival Chicago Wolves visit Panther Arena, the people of Milwaukee and southeastern Wisconsin will again benefit from the Admirals’ charitable work. The event is Charity Night, a staple on the team’s promotional schedule for 15 seasons.
“Every year it’s one of the first things we do (when the AHL schedule is released),” Greenberg explained.
Charity Night’s concept is quite simple:
The Admirals will cut ticket prices for the game Dec. 17. They slice their $22 tickets to $8. A $16 ticket is slashed to $5. From there, the Admirals take $3 from those discounted tickets (approximately 45 percent of the building) as well as all regular-priced tickets and donate that money to charity. More than $425,000 has been distributed to organizations like MACC Fund (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer) and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Milwaukee through the years.
“We look at it as just a chance to give back to the community that gives so much to us,” said Greenberg, who has been with the Admirals since 2005.
“People in the Milwaukee area and southeastern Wisconsin are very generous with giving back, and this is a way for us to do it.”
The team last held Charity Night on Dec. 13, 2019, when 8,821 fans took in a 4-1 Admirals win against the Wolves. With a building that holds 9,450 for hockey, the discounted tickets, and one of the AHL’s fiercest rivalries on a Friday night, the math is simple and the dollars can add up quickly.
This year Children’s Wisconsin, the area’s nationally ranked pediatric hospital, will be the Admirals’ Charity Night recipient.
Affiliated with the Medical College of Wisconsin, the 298-bed not-for-profit hospital offers more than 70 specialties and has a 72-bed pediatric intensive care unit. In 2020 the hospital had 284,000 primary care visits along with another 384,000 specialty visits for children across the Milwaukee area as well as the region. Children made 46,300 trips to the hospital’s emergency room or its Level 1 trauma center. The hospital conducted 16,150 surgeries as well as another 75,000 virtual visits during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic.
“Children’s has been a great partner of the Admirals for decades,” Greenberg explained.
“We hope you never have to send your child to the hospital for anything. But if you do, we’re lucky to have one of the best children’s hospitals in the country, and it’s right here in our own backyard. We greatly value the work that they do and are glad that we’re able to support them in this big way.”
Beyond the charitable work, Charity Night’s discounted prices also allow more people to see hockey, Greenberg pointed out.
“Fans who maybe can’t necessarily afford to come to games on a regular basis,” Greenberg said. “Or businesses who might want to buy blocks of tickets and either give them to their employees or give them to social service agencies here in our community and get people out [to the game].
“We’ve found anecdotally that people are eager to get back out and do things. If people are maybe coming out of a situation where they didn’t work over the last year or two, that they are trying to get back out. People do want to get out and do things. And this is an opportunity for them to take an opportunity to not spend a lot of money to bring out the family.
“Or companies who maybe want to do something for their employees, because they’ve been able to stick with their employees, and their employees probably have worked harder than they [have ever] worked over the last year or had to work differently.
“This is a way for them to give a little something back.”
Patrick Williams has been on the American Hockey League beat for nearly two decades for outlets including NHL.com, Sportsnet, TSN, The Hockey News, SiriusXM NHL Network Radio and SLAM! Sports, and is currently the co-host of The Hockey News On The ‘A’ podcast. He was the recipient of the AHL’s James H. Ellery Memorial Award for his outstanding coverage of the league in 2016.