NHLPA Beard-a-thon fundraising total surpasses $300,000

More than $115,000 raised for 2012 NHLPA Beard-a-thon during playoffs - Proceeds will fund valuable research by the Heart and Stroke Foundation

TORONTO, June 14, 2012 /CNW/ - After an exciting playoff season, the National Hockey League Players' Association (NHLPA) and the Heart and Stroke Foundation (HSF) are pleased to announce that the fundraising total for the NHLPA Beard-a-thon has surpassed $300,000, with more than $115,000 raised this year.  The proceeds will assist the Heart and Stroke Foundation in funding research into the causes and prevention of heart disease and stroke.

Canadian hockey fans may have had to contend with some heartbreak early in this year's playoff season - the first since 1996 with no Canadian teams making it to the second round. But the show went on and fans continued to demonstrate their generosity and passion in support of the NHLPA Beard-a-thon, throughout the playoffs.

"We're extremely grateful to the hundreds of beard growers who put down their razors for a great cause," said David Sculthorpe, CEO, Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada. "The NHLPA Beard-a-thon, along with the NHLPA's commitment to the Foundation, furthers our goal of creating healthy lives free of heart disease and stroke."

This year's highest grossing fundraiser is 38-year-old Torontonian Jason Fabro, who recently underwent heart surgery. Jason raised $8,343 - a record for non-NHLPA members.

Following Jason on the leader board are Phil Lemay ($2,540) and Dr. Nicolas Noiseux ($2,305) of Quebec, Alan Wakayama ($1,985), Steve Reinhardt ($1,592), Yaz Maziar ($1,515), Stephen Sax ($1,419) of Ontario and Stephen Lamb of BC ($1,260).   In addition to the Canadians from coast to coast who signed up for the NHLPA Beard-a-thon, Heart and Stroke Foundation staff got into the beard-growing action, helping to raise more than $7,521.

"The fans and players who took part this year in the NHLPA Beard-a-thon did a great job of raising funds for the Heart and Stroke Foundation," said Mathieu Schneider, former NHL player and current NHLPA Special Assistant to the Executive Director. "NHLPA members enjoyed lending their playoff beards and support to the campaign, once again, while giving fans the opportunity to compete with them throughout the playoffs by fundraising and growing their own beards for a great cause."

Jason Fabro is the winner of the Grand Prize Pack, awarded to a fundraiser who accumulates at least $1,000.  Jason receives a trip for two to watch one of his favourite NHLPA members play next season where he will meet the player and receive signed jerseys.  As the top eligible fundraiser, Alan Wakayama wins the honour of making a donation of brand new hockey equipment, valued at more than $10,000, through the NHLPA Goals & Dreams fund to enable deserving children in his community to play hockey.

Twenty-seven NHL players got involved by growing a playoff beard to help the cause, including: Andrew Alberts, Adrian Aucoin, Keith Ballard, Patrice Bergeron, Paul Bissonnette, Alex Burrows, Matt Carkner, Pascal Dupuis, Brian Elliott, Marc-Andre Gragnani, Dan Hamhuis, Scott Hartnell, Chris Higgins, Zack Kassian, Ryan Kesler, Brooks Laich, Maxim Lapierre, Manny Malhotra, Jamal Mayers, Chris Phillips, Brandon Prust, Kyle Quincey, Mason Raymond, Cory Schneider, Max Talbot, Christopher Tanev and Dale Weise.

Prust led participating players with more than $2,500 raised, followed by Aucoin, Bissonnette and Hartnell.

For more information on the NHLPA Beard-a-thon visit nhlpa.com or beardathon.ca.

Image with caption: "Heart and Stroke Foundation, Ontario, COO, Tom McAllister (right), shows off his freshly-shaved mug with top Beard-a-thon Fundraiser, Jason Fabro (centre) and NHLPA Goals & Dreams Chairman, Devin Smith (left). Fabro surpassed his fundraising goal, raising a total of $8,343.47 throughout the playoffs. (CNW Group/HEART AND STROKE FOUNDATION OF CANADA)". Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120614_C8785_PHOTO_EN_15140.jpg

SOURCE HEART AND STROKE FOUNDATION OF CANADA

For further information:

Andrew Wolfe
National Hockey League Players' Association
(416) 313-2376
awolfe@nhlpa.com

JD Fraser
Heart and Stroke Foundation
613-406-3282 mobile
613-569-4361 ext. 273
jfraser@hsf.ca

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