I had a very hectic day Saturday, but all in working for a good cause: Getting a client some positive publicity.
One of my clients is a hockey league known as the Upper Midwest High School Elite League. It's a fall league for high school players, designed to give elite-level players an opportunity to play against other high-level players while staying in high school (as opposed to leaving school to go play junior hockey somewhere else.)
Among the many volunteers that help the league are a wonderful couple named Ken and Paula Gamer. Last Thursday the Gamer's home in Medina burned to the ground, taking almost all of their possessions in the process, including the hockey gear of their 11-year-old son, Charlie.
Charlie is playing in a spring hockey league, and was supposed to play in a tournament this past weekend in Bloomington. One of the fellows who helps run the Elite League, Bob Fallen, knew about the Gamer's fire and the fact that Charlie now had no hockey equipment. He also knew that Charlie's parents had other things on their mind than pee-wee hockey.
So Bob called the folks at Bauer Hockey - one of the league's sponsors - and said the Elite League would like to purchase new equipment for Charlie, and asked which retailer Bauer would recommend. Then the story got even better.
The folks at Bauer said they would be happy to take care of replacing all of Charlie's equipment, at no cost to the family or the league. Instead, they had the Gamers take Charlie over to Letterman's Sports in Blaine, and on Friday Charlie got new skates, gloves, helmet, shoulder pads, breezers, elbow pads...everything he needed to get back on the ice. On Saturday he was able to be back with his team, playing in the tournament.
It was a great story, and a great example of how the Minnesota hockey community takes care of its own, and when I learned about all of this on Friday night, I knew it was a story that needed to get out.
So I spent a good chunk of time Saturday writing a pitch and a press release, and working the phones, trying to line up some media coverage of the story. Several media outlets responded, and the story of the Gamers, the Elite League and the generosity of Bauer was told on local TV stations.
If you click here you can see WCCO-TV's story, which was the best of the bunch. Ken Gamer was very gracious about taking time to talk to the reporters, and we even got Charlie a little face time to make his TV debut.
Obviously it's a huge tragedy for the Gamers to lose their home, and replacing some hockey gear is miniscule compared to what they will be going through in the weeks and months ahead, but it was really nice to be able to work on a "warm, fuzzy" story and see it make it on air.