NEW YORK – Throughout the NHL season and in celebration of the 41st anniversary of Earth Day on April 22, NHL Clubs have implemented environmental programs in their communities and sustainability efforts in their facilities. Here is a snapshot of how several NHL Clubs have participated in activities and events leading up to and around Earth Day:
Anaheim: All season long, the Ducks supported environmental preservation through the "Green Goal Shootout" program, presented by Pinnacle Landscape. With every Ducks shootout victory, Pinnacle Landscape donated a tree to the new development at the Children's Hospital of Orange County. On Earth Day, Ducks fans who bring recyclable materials to Anaheim Ice, the Ducks' practice facility, will have an opportunity to participate in the "Ducks Grab Bag" to win prizes and merchandise.
Atlanta: Philips Arena became the first NHL/NBA arena to achieve LEED certification for an existing facility in April of 2009. Two years later, on April 8, 2011, Thrashers players showed their continuing support for sustainability by wearing "Follow Our LEED" helmet decals. Prior to the game, Philips Arena hosted an electronics recycling drive. Fans who turned in electronics received a 20% discount at the arena's Team Gear store. As part of the Green Goals campaign presented by The Home Depot, a $10,000 donation was made to Trees Atlanta to plant and maintain trees throughout the city. On April 6, representatives from the Thrashers, Hawks, Philips Arena and The Home Depot participated in a tree mulching project in Vine City.
Buffalo: On Saturday, April 16, the Buffalo Sabres teamed up with National Fuel and the Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper to clean up the Ohio Street Boat Launch in Buffalo. The initiative was part of the Spring Shoreline Sweep, where volunteers were deployed in about 40 different locations to collect trash and debris in Western New York's waterways, thereby improving both wildlife habitats and drinking water.
Detroit: In March, the Red Wings held a "Going Green" night, presented by DTE Energy. The first 5,000 fans through the gates received a commemorative t-shirt. In keeping with the "green-themed" evening, over 50 groups from environmentally conscious organizations were in attendance, as well as 500 individuals who won tickets to the game from DTE Energy sponsored contests. Additionally, energy experts were on the concourse educating fans on energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Minnesota: On May 13, Minnesota Sports and Entertainment employees will be cleaning up the Xcel Energy Center, St. Paul River Centre and Roy Wilkins Auditorium campus. Employees will scour the grounds picking up and removing trash. Additionally, the Club plans to announce the success of the facility's "50-50 in 2" waste reduction plan, which was implemented to reduce trash on campus by 50% while increasing the annual recycling rate to 50% in a two-year window.
Nashville: The Predators and Bridgestone Arena are committed to recycling efforts which collect, sort and correctly dispose of aluminum, paper, plastic and cooking oils. Earlier this year, Bridgestone Arena installed energy-conservation controls on the ice plant, as well as an energy efficient High Dry system in the Predators locker room. For Earth Day, the facility is pursuing new "green" building upgrades, such as updating from T12 to T8 fluorescent lighting, replacing 100 watt metal halides with 24 watt compact fluorescents, converting pneumatic hot and chilled water valves to electric controlled valves, and testing bladeless air hand dryers in the arena.
New York: On April 1st, the Rangers hosted a "go green" event in partnership with the Garden of Dreams Foundation, the Knicks (NBA) and the Liberty (WNBA). Using non-toxic paint and environmentally friendly materials, the Rangers transformed an old fitness center at WHEDco, a partner organization, into a functional computer lab for youths. The project's refurbishment included everything from new bamboo floors, eco-friendly clay walls, solar shades and brand new energy efficient computers. Rangers alumni Ron Duguay and Nick Fotiu, alongside children from the Garden of Dreams, helped to put on the finishing touches, painting the computer desks and cleaning the windows.
Phoenix: The Coyotes held a month-long "Going Green" celebration, sponsored by American Solar Electric. In partnership with the City of Glendale, the Coyotes collected and safely recycled fans old cell phones at Jobing.com Arena. Throughout the season, the Coyotes invited prominent environmental agencies, such as the Environmental Fund for Arizona, Habitat for Humanity and the Desert Botanical Garden, to assist in advocating for their environmental causes.
San Jose: The San Jose Sharks partnered with Sims Recycling Solutions to recognize the Sharks' "Greenest Fan." The "Greenest Fan Sweepstakes" was a monthly contest in which fans could submit an essay along with photos/video on why they are the Sharks "Greenest Fan." Each month a finalist was chosen, and the contest winner was recognized on the Sharks' final home game of the regular season on Sat., April 9. In addition, the Sharks and Sims Recycling Solutions held e-waste recycling events at HP Pavilion in March. Fans that brought an item to recycle were able to watch the Sharks pre-game morning skate and received a raffle ticket for the chance to win autographed Sharks merchandise. For a second year through Save Our Shores' Adopt-A-Beach program, the Sharks adopted Cowell's Beach in Santa Cruz. During the offseason, the Sharks and their fans will participate in at least three scheduled beach cleans ups, recognizing the need for litter-free beaches.
Tampa Bay: In March, the Lightning hosted a "Go Green Night" to encourage recycling and raise environmental awareness. Fans who brought plastic bottles, aluminum cans or items including old jerseys, hats or t-shirts received discounted tickets. Those who rode their bike to the game received one complimentary ticket. The first 5,000 individuals in Lightning gear received a Lightning recyclable grocery bag. Outside of the St. Pete Times Forum, volunteer organizations helped fans safely recycle old car and boat batteries. Individuals who made a donation received a pair of tickets to an upcoming event. During the game, the Lightning Foundation presented two lucky "green" fans with a new bicycle.
Toronto: The Maple Leafs participated in the "20-minute Toronto Makeover" on April 15th. Introduced by the City of Toronto, the idea is for organizations and individuals to stop what they are doing at 2 p.m. and engage in a cleaning blitz around their home or workplace. 200 Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment employees spent the afternoon cleaning up garbage around Air Canada Centre.
Washington: On April 16, the Washington Capitals played host to a service project at Fort Dupont Ice Arena as part of the Greater DC Cares 2011 Servathon. More than 100 Caps fans volunteered to help spruce up the rink. Activities included planting flowers on the grounds, weeding and mulching tree boxes and flower beds, sweeping the parking lot and sidewalks, clearing brush from the building, sorting and pairing hockey equipment, cleaning and waxing the boards and painting locker rooms, hallways and bathrooms. Caps players' wives and mascot Slapshot joined fans in the effort.
Throughout the 2010-11 regular season, NHL Clubs implemented sustainable initiatives including e-waste drives, renewable energy offset programs, tailgate recycling operations and community beautification and restoration projects. Starting at the beginning of the season, all 30 NHL Member Clubs participated in a League-wide Rock and Wrap It Up! food recovery program. All prepared but untouched food was donated to local shelters, diverting over 100 tons of waste from landfill and providing 150,000 meals to local residents across North America. To date, eight NHL Clubs have received awards from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in recognition of their commitment to the program.