Wednesday, January 6, 2010
On this date in 2007, the Minnesota Wild participated in the Teammates for Kids patch program, in which every player in the NHL wore a Teammates for Kids patch on their jersey for one home game between January 4th and January 13th.
All of the approximately 650 jerseys were then auctioned off for charity, with the patched Pittsburgh Penguins jersey worn by Sidney Crosby on January 7, 2007 selling for $12,131.
The Teammates for Kids Foundation was founded by country music star Garth Brooks in 1999 to contribute to nonprofit organizations that serve and benefit children. The concept has pro athletes contribute based on performances in games, such as $500 for each goal scored, which the foundation then triples. To date over $75 million has been distributed.
Pavol Demitra broke into the NHL with the Ottawa Senators, who drafted him 227th overall in 1993. After three partial seasons with the Senators, Demitra was traded to the St. Louis Blues and finally became an NHL regular in 1997-98. He would play for St. Louis for eight seasons before signing with the Los Angeles Kings following the NHL Lockout in 2005. After one season in Los Angeles, Demitra was traded to the Minnesota Wild at the 2006 draft in order to team him up with fellow Slovakian Marian Gaborik.
After two seasons in Minnesota, which included being named team captain for October of 2007, Demitra would leave to sign with the Vancouver Canucks.
He has participated in three NHL All-Star Games, in 1999, 2000 and 2002, all while with St. Louis and was also named the winner of the Lady Byng Award in 2000. His highest scoring season was in 2002-03, when he scored 36 goals and 57 assists for 93 points. His highest single season goal total was 37 in 1998-99.
Demitra has an extensive international career, beginning with playing for Czechoslovakia in the 1992 European Junior Championships, followed by playing for the Czech Republic in the 1993 World Juniors, where he won a bronze medal.
Since 1996, Demitra has skated for Slovakia. He has been in the World Championships in 1996, 2003 (earning bronze), 2004, 2005 and 2007. Additionally, he has played in both the 1996 and 2004 World Cup of Hockey and the Olympics in 2002 and 2006.
Today's featured jersey is a Minnesota Wild Pavol Demitra jersey with the addition of the Garth Brooks Teammates for Kids Foundation patch as worn on January 6, 2007 in a 2-1 shootout loss to the Colorado Avalanche.
The Wild wore their green jerseys on the road for their first three seasons before it became their home jersey in 2003-04 and remain in use through the 2006-07 season before the change to the new Reebok Edge jerseys dictated teams could have only a home and road jersey during the Edge jersey's introductory season. With the Wild's red alternate throwback style jersey far outselling the other styles, the green jersey was the one chosen to be retired.
During it's six seasons of use, the green jersey was frequently patched, having been seen with the 2003 (Nick Schultz) & 2004 (Pierre-Marc Bouchard) Young Stars Game patch as part of the NHL All-Star weekend festivities, the season long 2004 NHL All-Star Game patch, which was also worn once with the 2004 Hockey Fights Cancer patch (captain Brad Bombardir), the season long 2005-06 Minnesota Wild Year Five patch, the NHL Cares/Katrina patch during the first period of their game on October 5, 2005 as well as today's featured Teammates for Kids patch on January 6, 2007.
Today's video is an enlightening look into Demitra's journey from a youngster in Czechoslovakia, where the ultimate goal was the World Championships to the Olympics, to seeing the world change and participating in the NHL becoming a new possibility and the adjustments needed after coming to North America.
Demitra had the perfect timing to score a hat trick on Hat Night in Los Angeles. The results were swift and predictable.