SBD/September 12, 2012/Franchises

Flames Players Reverse Decision To Skip Charity Event For Labor Meetings

If there was “ever any doubt fans can have an impact, it was answered Tuesday when Calgary Flames players bowed to public pressure and agreed to do the right thing” by participating in the team's charity golf tournament, according to Eric Francis of the CALGARY SUN. Spurred on by “front page coverage in the Sun revealing the Flames players had decided en masse" to skip the tomorrow's tournament so some could attend players’ meetings in N.Y., a "rather overwhelmed" team player rep C Matt Stajan announced "their change of heart one day later." A “furious backlash by frustrated fans had everything to do with the decision to cease the senseless blanket policy and allow at least a handful of players in town to play and help raise upwards of $300,000 for local charities.” Francis wrote, “Right or wrong, the optics suggested millionaire players were essentially turning their collective backs on children and families in need.” It was “clear by Stajan’s uncomfortable response to the firestorm Tuesday, the decision wasn’t well-thought through as he had no idea the public would respond with such passion.” But Stajan “could have used some better advice Tuesday when he suggested the whole thing was a ‘mix-up.’” To suggest there was a breakdown in communications is to "inadvertently throw the Flames’ public relations staff and the organization under the bus." Still, it is “hard to come down too hard on Stajan, as he and the players fixed the situation” (CALGARY SUN, 9/12). Stajan said, "We never had any intent ... of hurting a charity or not supporting a charity. We are 100 per cent behind the Flames Foundation and all the charities we work for, all the charities we work with." He added, We don't want to be locked out and have a bunch of other charity events cancelled ... or can't attend (them) because we're locked out" (CALGARY HERALD, 9/12).

NO RSVP'S YET: In Nashville, Josh Cooper notes Predators players in recent years “have donated their time in honor” of the team’s former associate coach Brent Peterson, who was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in ’03. The team every year “hosts a dinner/silent auction and golf tournament” to benefit the Peterson Foundation for Parkinson’s. But with the Sept. 15 lockout deadline looming, the function, scheduled for Sept. 17-18, “may see some high-profile no-shows.” Following the lockout, it is “unclear what team-related functions they would be allowed to participate in.” Predators D Shea Weber said, “Guys here want to do anything to support Brent Peterson and the Parkinson’s foundation because he’s a great person, so we will do anything we can do to help him. But we’re not sure on what we’re supposed to do and not do” (Nashville TENNESSEAN, 9/12).
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