Toyota Sports Center Comes to Life for Two Great Causes

Toyota Sports Center Comes to Life for Two Great Causes

El Segundo, CA - For the first time since the Kings won the Stanley Cup in June, pro hockey was back in Los Angeles. On Friday, November 9th, fans flocked to Toyota Sports Center to watch an all-star caliber charity game that would benefit the Twin Peaks Cancer Foundation and the Jr. Kings Pee Wee AAA1 team as they get ready to travel to Quebec in February.

Fans lucky enough to get one of the 500 bleacher seats at the Toyota Sports Center saw some of their favorite, local players play an entertaining, 15-goal game. Players from the L.A. Kings included Kyle Clifford, Matt Greene, Dustin Penner and Jarret Stoll while cross-town rivals, the Ducks’ Ryan Getzlaf, Bobby Ryan, and Sheldon Souray participated in the event

Also appearing were Ryan Miller of the Sabres, Shane O’Brien of the Avalanche, Eric Nystrom of the Stars, Matt Moulson of the Islanders, and Dion Phaneuf of the Maple Leafs. Jonathan Quick, recuperating from off-season back surgery, watched from behind a bench.

“Guys are having fun,” said Kings right wing Justin Williams. “We were trying hard to put on a little show, and we’re happy so many people came out to watch. It’s a very good cause, and it’s the closest thing we’ve played to a game since Game 6 [of the 2012 Stanley Cup Final]. It was fun to get out there.”

“For guys to get on the ice again, it was a no-brainer,” said Kings forward Jarret Stoll. “It was very easy. Everyone was like, ‘I’m in, I’m in, I’m in!’ Everybody loves doing this kind of stuff, and that’s the kind of character all these guys have. We’re all trying to get ready, at some point, for the season. If we can raise money at the same time, for a couple of good causes, that’s what it’s all about.”

Many NHL players live in the L.A. area during the offseason and some have been purchasing ice-time and attending regular conditioning sessions at the Toyota Sports Center to keep sharp during the NHL lockout.

“There’s about 12 of us here that skate here three days a week. And if we get seven or eight of those guys to come down, it’ll be great,” said Stoll.

In fact, Jarret Stoll was instrumental in pulling the players together. Brad Sholl, General Manager of the Toyota Sports Center, talked about how the game come to fruition.

“When we got the date, we had basically two weeks to really promote this thing, and with the pending lockout, you don’t know if it’s going to get resolved or not, so we’re always kind of looking at the clock, wondering if we’re going to make it. The good thing is that the guys here have been buying the ice, so they’re here three days a week. My son is actually on the Quebec Pee Wee team, and we always do a fundraiser every year for our Quebec team. I was going to mention it to the guys if they wanted to do a benefit game, and then one day, we’re sitting here talking, and they say, ‘Hey! We should do a benefit game!’ So we got together. There really were three of us. Chris Wozniak, myself and Kelly Sorensen. We just rolled up our sleeves and went to work at it, and I have to say that Jarret Stoll was a huge, huge benefit and a help to us. We would be texting him and calling him back and forth, and emailing, and he was surely a big part of this happening. He reached out to all these guys. For the guys to be here, it was really thanks to Jarret Stoll. But for these guys to show up and do this for us, it’s unbelievable."

The charity game and auction raised over $20,000 for the Twin Peaks Cancer Foundation, a non-profit organization set up to provide funding for breast cancer education.

“Twin Peaks was formed to help raise awareness for early detection of breast cancer,” said Kevin Josephson, who handles outreach and marketing for the Twin Peaks Cancer Foundation. “If you catch it early, you have a chance to beat it. The statistics really support that.”

Twin Peaks was founded in remembrance of Jane Booge, an avid minor hockey supporter who passed away in September after a three-year struggle with metastatic breast cancer.

Proceeds also went to the Jr. Kings’ Pee Wee AAA 1 team in support of their trip to Quebec City for the prestigious Quebec International Pee-Wee Tournament.

Regarding the prestigious tournament, Kelly Sorensen, Executive Director of the Jr. Kings, said, “The money is used to offset the financial burden families have to go to through to go on that trip. Typically, for one parent and their child to go to the tournament in Quebec, the cost ranges from $2,800 to $3,000, and that’s just one travel event that this particular team has over the course of a season.”

Kings defenseman, Matt Greene, added, “I played in that tournament when I was younger. It’s something that’s huge for these kids to be able to get a chance to do it, and you want to hope that they have as smooth of a trip as they can, because it can be a big experience for a young hockey player.”

And what an experience this night turned out to be. Fans, clamoring for hockey since last summer, welcomed their sport back with open arms and the locked-out players showed their true colors; all while showing support for two great causes.