Operation Hat Trick raises money for ‘Sandy’ victims

Published On November 25, 2012 | By Alison Majikes

Nearly 11,000 hockey diehards gathered together at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, New Jersey to watch an exhibition hockey game with a collection of players from The New York Rangers, Philadelphia Flyers and New Jersey Devils, in the hopes of raising some money for the victims of Superstorm Sandy.

Scott Hartnell, left-winger for the Philadelphia Flyers, was one of the many locked-out players in attendance to give the fans a taste of some hockey action.

“We want to be playing. It’s unfortunate that we’re not playing right now,” said Hartnell.

Hartnell was very instrumental in organizing the event, which was put together in a matter of weeks and had fans paying upwards of $100 dollars for a ticket just for them to catch a little bit of the season they’ve been longing for while helping others who lost everything after the storm.

The faithful fans started chanting “we want hockey,” towards the end of the game in protest of the suspended season, thanks to the NHL owners.

“I’d be lying if I said I didn’t get choked up a little bit with 11,000 people chanting that they want hockey back,” said Hartnell, who captained a team that lost to one captained by Brad Richards of the New York Rangers, 10-6.

Operation Hat Trick came from the mind of Joe Watson, senior vice president of national marketing for Caesars Entertainment’s Eastern Division. He suggested the idea of a charity game to Hartnell a few weeks ago.

The event proved to be a great success for fans and players alike, all while raising money for a great cause and allowing everyone air out their grievances on the lack of hockey in their lives.

“The fans are very passionate. They want some hockey. Hopefully we gave them a little show tonight, and they can hold onto that,” said Rangers defenseman Dan Girardi.

“I think everyone wants hockey. Owners, players … everyone wants hockey.”

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