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Coquitlam Express players using their heads to raise awareness about special causes

Coquitlam Express general manager Tali Campbell says the "Helmets for Charity" initiative highlights the team's commitment to community involvement.
Coquitlam Express players will be wearing stickers on their helmets promoting awareness of social, health and environmental causes that are special to them.

Coquitlam Express players will be wearing their hearts on their heads for the rest of the BC Hockey League (BCHL) season.

On Tuesday, Dec. 5, the team announced each player will wear the logo of a charity that's near and dear to them on their helmet.

The initiative, called "Helmets for Charity," reflects the team's commitment to making a positive impact in the community, said Express general manager Tali Campbell in a news release.

"Beyond the game of hockey, this program embodies our organization’s values of giving back and making a difference in our community."

Campbell said by affixing the logos to their helmets, the players aim to raise awareness and support for the various causes across Canada and into the United States and Norway, where some of them are from.

The charities range from the Make a Wish Foundation to the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation to the Wounded Warrior Project and include youth empowerment, health initiatives, environmental conservations, social justice and community welfare programs.

"This meaningful initiative….allows our players to showcase their support for causes they deeply care about," Campbell said.

Last Friday, Dec. 1, the Express donated $32,740 from its third annual charity golf tournament to FOCUS Canada, a charitable organization that works to empower underprivileged communities across Canada. The team’s previous tournaments raised $12,000 for Canuck Place Children’s Hospice and more than $21,000 for the Canucks Autism Network.

The team has also contributed more than $100,000 for cancer research in the past few years through its annual game to raise awareness about the disease and an initiative by former captain Ryan Tattle, who’s from Port Moody, that solicited donations to the Canadian Cancer Society for every goal he scored during the 2021-22 season.

As well, players are expected to participate in various community initiatives like literacy programs at schools, helping out at local events and serving burgers at McDonalds McHappy Day promotion.

On Dec. 16, the Express is partnering with the Gamar Foundation to host a spirit night for students, staff and alumni of nearby Centennial Secondary School.

Campbell said the event gives the team a chance to shine a spotlight on some of the achievements by the school’s students and their contribution to the community. He said there will be a pre-game ceremony with a special announcement as well as guest speakers throughout the game against the visiting Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

The Express currently runs its U17 developmental team, Coquitlam HC, in conjunction with Centennial’s hockey academy program.

Four games until holiday break

After splitting a pair of games on Vancouver Island last weekend, the Express play three of its next four games prior to the holiday break at Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex.

Friday, Dec. 8, the team hosts the Langley Rivermen at 7 p.m. for its annual Teddy Bear toss where fans are invited to throw a teddy bear on the ice after the home team scores its first goal. The bears are donated to the Kirmac Cares for Kids charity.

After a road game in Chilliwack against the Chiefs the next night the Express play the Nanaimo Clippers on the 13th, a rare Wednesday night home game, before its game against the Bulldogs on the 16th.