The Florida Panthers have been on the front line in stepping up to support those in need throughout the ongoing coronavirus crisis. On Friday, Sergei Bobrovsky made a $100,000 pledge to part-time arena workers at the BB&T Center, ensuring they would be paid even while the NHL was on hiatus. On Sunday, Jonathan Huberdeau became one of the first hockey players to come out with a concrete fundraising idea to assist COVID-19 relief and he’s urging fellow athletes to do the same.
Huberdeau took to Twitter on Friday to announce his participation in a new fundraising effort. The All-Star left winger donated a signed jersey to Athletes for COVID-19 Relief and the proceeds will benefit the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s COVID-19 Response Fund.
Fans can pledge $25 for a chance to win any of the pieces of memorabilia available as part of the Center for Disaster Philanthropy’s fundraiser.
Huberdeau and Dallas Stars defenseman John Klingberg were the first two NHL players to announce their involvement in the fundraiser, and both urged others to join them.
Huberdeau has company in the South Florida sports scene. Panthers winger Mike Hoffman also donated a signed jersey and Miami Marlins All-Star starting pitcher Sandy Alcanatara dontated a signed baseball. Huberdeau also donated a customized pair of skates to the auction.
More than 60 athletes across nearly a dozen different sports have donated items to be auctioned, including Golden State Warriors superstar guard Stephen Curry, NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson, Olympic gymnast Simone Biles, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps and snowboarder Shaun White.
Every major United States sports league, including the NHL, is on hiatus because of the coronavirus pandemic. The NHL suspended play Thursday before Florida faced the Stars in Dallas and recommendations by the Center for Disease Control will leave play suspended for at least two months. The Panthers entered the break three points behind the Toronto Maple Leafs for the third and final playoff spot in the Atlantic Division.
On Monday, the NHL announced it will let players self-isolate anywhere through March 27. The league originally asked players to quarantine in their teams’ home cities as it tried to figure out how long a shutdown might last.
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