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Posted at 04:11 PM ET, 06/10/2011

Ovechkin leads fundraising in NHL-Autism Speaks partnership

Long-time Caps fans are probably familiar with Autism Speaks, the autism science and advocacy organization Olie Kolzig famously supported when he wore a Caps uniform. This post-season, Autism Speaks has partnered with the NHL for an exciting fundraising campaign running through the end of the playoffs.

The program, called Faceoff Against Autism, asks fans to purchase digital puzzle pieces for players from their favorite playoff teams. Each $10 piece is a part of a picture of a selected player — Alex Ovechkin for the Caps, for example — and fans who purchase at least one piece will receive a 20 percent discount off their next purchase at the online NHL store. Fans will also be entered to win one of four autographed jerseys, including one from Ovechkin.

To date, Faceoff Against Autism has raised over $13,000, and the competition won’t end until the playoffs do. As it currently stands, Caps fans can be proud that, despite our early exit, Alex Ovechkin has raised the most of any player, including those from the Bruins (Patrice Bergeron) and the Canucks (Roberto Luongo). Here is the leaderboard as of this morning:

Alex Ovechkin, Washington Capitals $2,980

Marc-Andre Fleury, Pittsburgh Penguins $2,550

Patrice Bergeron, Boston Bruins $1,380

Joe Thornton, San Jose Sharks $1,240

Nicklas Lidstrom, Detroit Red Wings $973

Roberto Luongo, Vancouver Canucks $840

Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers $660

Danny Briere, Philadelphia Flyers $630

Brian Campbell, Chicago Blackhawks $540

Ryan Miller, Buffalo Sabres $330

JP Dumont, Nashville Predators $270

Scott Gomez, Montreal Canadiens $220

Vincent Lecavalier, Tampa Bay Lightning $210

Dustin Brown, Los Angeles Kings $210

Ryan Getzlaf, Anaheim Ducks $150

Shane Doan, Phoenix Coyotes $40

I’ll be honest, this is making me think a couple of things. First is that I’m a little bummed that these numbers aren’t higher pretty much across the board. That being said, if not for a tip from my editor, I would never have come across this program. The publicity for it must be pretty minimal.

The second thing that strikes me here is that wow, for a person who said in my last post that we’ve got to find a way to make an NHL team stick in Phoenix, I may have to eat my words. No more than four people came out to donate to charity by picking Shane Doan? In the sixth-biggest city in the U.S.? Yikes.

And here’s my final thought: given that the Caps’ representative in this program is currently in the lead, I may be preaching to the choir, but I think folks should consider participating in this program for a number of reasons. The first is that this is a cause championed by the finest philanthropist in Caps history, Olie Kolzig. The second is that I’m a big fan of $10 one-time donation requests because I think they fall into the reasonable price range for a large number of people. The final reason is that, if nothing else, the 20 percent discount at the NHL store is a great deal – donate $10 and save $30 on a premier home jersey.

I’m overdue for a community relations roundup, so I’ll update with the final numbers after the playoffs.

By Nicole Weissman  |  04:11 PM ET, 06/10/2011

Tags:  Capitals, Nicole Weissman

 
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