A great deal of planning went into the Page 1 photo you see in today’s Telegram.
When you’re dealing with professional hockey players, busy juggling workouts, personal appearances and, yes, golf, getting seven together at a specific time, in a specific place, is a job in itself.
The spadework for this project began in the spring, just before the Stanley Cup playoffs. Daniel Cleary was the key. The only player who no longer lives in Newfoundland, finding out when Cleary was back in his home province for his August hockey school was the first step.
Then we needed to get the other six Newfoundland NHLers — Ryane Clowe, Teddy Purcell, Michael Ryder, Adam Pardy, Colin Greening and Luke Adam — together on Signal Hill at the same time and place.
After numerous emails, phone calls and text messages, a time and place was arranged.
Unfortunately, Greening was unable to make it. He spent the summer in Chicago with his girlfriend, though he admitted to me he toyed with the idea — more than once — of making the trip home specifically for the somewhat historic photo.
The Telegram purchased seven replica NHL jerseys, each of them professionally numbered and stitched. They are the jerseys you see the players wearing in the photo.
And now for the good news: each of the players signed the jerseys they are wearing (Greening’s Ottawa jersey was mailed to him and returned to The Telegram), and those sweaters could be yours.
Beginning today, the seven player-worn jerseys will be auctioned off, with proceeds going towards helping make a wish by 13-year-old Blake from Fortune, NL, come true, through the Children’s Wish Foundation.
Click on ‘Hockey Jersey Auction’. From there, make your bid for your favourite player’s hand-signed jersey.
Imagine one of these jerseys hanging in your rec room? Or if you happen to own a sports bar ...
While local hockey fans will score with these hand-signed jerseys, the big winner will be young Blake, whose wish is to watch his beloved Detroit Red Wings, and meet Cleary and Pavel Datsyuk.
And now for the good news: each of the players signed the jerseys they are wearing and those sweaters could be yours.
Blake, diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis, is a Wings fan because of his grandfather. When his Pop died in 2008, young Blake made it a point to watch his grandfather’s favourite team. And when he learned Danny Cleary hailed from Newfoundland, his devotion to the Wings was sealed.
“Since then, Danny Cleary is my favourite Red Wing,” he said.
“It is somewhat of an honour for him,” said his mom, Linda, “to follow this team like his grandfather and uncle supported for so many years.
“That fact Detroit won the Cup in 2008, the same year his Pop died, gives him some strange comfort. This interest gives him an outlet, maybe a distraction, from the challenges he faces daily.”
“We are very proud to be able to help Blake realize his wish,” said Telegram publisher Charlie Stacey. “In highlighting our homegrown hockey stars who have realized their dreams of playing in the NHL, we are at the same time helping a young man, who has faced much challenge in his life, turn his wish into a reality.
“Whether you are a hockey fan or someone who likes to back a fighter, bid high and bid often.”
The auction closes noon Oct. 6.