Moose prove scoring goals isn’t the only way to win

by Christina Caligiuri || AHL On The Beat Archive

Cory Schneider and Mick E. Moose help out with the holiday food drive.

Video: AHL Live VOD

It can provide some of the most challenging and rewarding moments the Manitoba Moose will experience all season, but unlike the 14 on-ice battles they face in December, everyone comes out on top in the hockey club’s holiday community initiatives.

This festive season the club has teamed up with Powerade and Sobeys to launch their second annual food drive in support of the Christmas Cheer Board.

Beginning on Saturday, Nov. 22, all Manitoba Moose players were spread around the six participating Sobeys store locations in Winnipeg from noon to 2:00 p.m. to officially launch the program where fans dropped off non-perishable food items at one of the locations.

Players signed autographs, bagged groceries, and visited with fans and shoppers to educate them on the importance of the food drive.

“It is really great to be able to motivate people to come out and donate to a worthwhile cause,” expressed Moose right winger Raymond Sawada, as he signed autographs for shoppers. “The turnout has been great so far and things will only pick up come the end of the month.”

Shoppers can drop off their food items at the six participating Winnipeg Sobeys until Dec. 21. The Christmas Cheer Board will then create and distriubute food hampers to city families in need; more than 18,500 hampers were delivered last year.

The Moose are also participating in their annual Children’s Hospital Visit on Wednesday, Dec. 10. Armed with stuffed animals, video games, and loads of festive enthusiasm, this year’s line-up of 22 players, three coaches, a handful of front-office staff, and one very popular mascot will bring holiday cheer to hospitalized kids and their families.

Kelly McArthur, executive director of the Manitoba Moose Yearling Foundation, the hockey club’s charitable arm, said the annual visit and toy distribution is a highlight of the year for kids and players alike.

“Since 1996 we’ve been involved with the Children’s Hospital of Manitoba, and it’s the visit that we look forward to every year,” she explained. “I know that it’s great for both sides. The kids absolutely love it. It gives them a break to not think about their illness for just a couple of hours – they can just concentrate on being a kid and having some fun.

“For the players, I think it puts life in perspective a little bit. I know wins and losses are important but on that day they’re not as important. So I think it helps them realize how fortunate they are, and I think it’s a very humbling experience for a lot of them.”