Thursday, January 14, 2010

Habs, NHL Rally for Haitian Aid - How We Can Help

image The Montreal Canadiens announced Thursday that proceeds from both their 50/50 draws and silent auctions at the Bell Centre, over the next two home games, will be donated to UNICEF to help the relief effort in earthquake devastated Haiti.

The money raised normally goes to the Canadiens Children’s Foundation, but in the already impoverished country’s time of crisis, the Canadiens felt the money can be put to better use in this situation.


UNICEF’s target in the aid effort is the children and women, who are the most vulnerable in times of crisis. Children under 18 make up nearly 50 per cent of the 10 million population of Haiti.

Team president Pierre Boivin is recording a video, that will be played during the games, to encourage fan support.

The NHL has put in a donation of $100,000 to relief efforts, and the Canadiens are expected to make a donation announcement in the coming days and will match the fans donations.


The tragedy hits close to home for Habs enforcer Georges Laraque.

Laraque was born in Montreal, but his parents are from Haiti, and some members of his immediate family were on the island when the earthquake hit.

Laraque spoke to the Montreal Gazette about Tuesday’s earthquake that hit the Haitian capital of Port-au-Prince.

"It’s hard to be here and playing hockey, not knowing what’s happening and not being able to reach someone," he said. "The next couple of days, the next couple of months are going to be tough. … I’m going to be praying for not only the members of my family, but for all the Haitians that are struggling."

Laraque’s relatives are in Haiti for the winter and not having any word from them is the hardest part.

“We've been trying to reach them. We don't know what's happening,” Laraque said.

"When you sit and wait and you can't get a hold on anything, it's much harder than knowing the result. It's lingering, and anticipating that phone call is much harder."

The big winger later added how an incident such as this puts everything else into perspective.

“When you hear something like this, how can you ever complain about anything, about hockey, about criticism, when there are people battling for their lives?"



There are several other ways to donate to help the people of Haiti:






Rogers Wireless users can also donate via text. Just text the word HELP to 1291, and you can instantly donate $5 to Partners in Health, one of Haiti’s biggest healthcare NGOs.

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