AHL announces hurricane relief efforts

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. … The American Hockey League has announced a league-wide initiative designed to raise funds and awareness in the wake of the hurricanes that struck the southern United States in recent weeks.

For the first regular-season home game of each of the AHL’s 27 teams, the home team’s captain will wear a jersey featuring a specially created Red Cross patch positioned next to the “C” on the front of his sweater. Following the game, the jersey will be autographed by the captain and placed up for auction on the official Web site of the American Hockey League, theahl.com, in conjunction with The MeiGray Group. All proceeds from these 27 auctions will go to the American Red Cross.

Also, from Oct. 5 through Nov. 15, all AHL teams will be displaying a Red Cross emblem on the backs of their player helmets, and public address announcements will be directing fans on how they can aid in the relief efforts themselves.

Many AHL teams have also announced their own fundraising efforts, including accepting donations of money, food, clothing, bottled water, blankets and toys for delivery to victims and rescue workers in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Texas.

You can help the victims of Hurricane Katrina, Hurricane Rita and other disasters across the country each year by making a financial gift to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund, which enables the Red Cross to provide shelter, food, counseling and other assistance to those in need. For more information, please call 1-800-HELP-NOW or visit www.redcross.org. In Canada, the Canadian Red Cross can be reached at 1-800-418-1111, or on-line at www.redcross.ca.

In operation since 1936, the AHL is celebrating its historic 70th anniversary this season, and continues to serve as the top development league for all 30 National Hockey League teams. More than 80 percent of NHL players in 2003-04 were AHL graduates, and in 2004-05, more than 7.1 million fans – an all-time league record – attended AHL games across North America.