Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Whalers active in local community

Courtesy Plymouth Whalers

The hockey business is measured in numbers.

The Plymouth Whalers have a record of 17-14-0-0, Myles McCauley has 17 goals and Leo Jenner leads the Whalers with a +14 plus/minus rating.

The Whalers play 34 home games, each OHL playoff series is the best four-of-seven games and Plymouth is playing in its 20th season in the Ontario Hockey League.

But there are some impressive numbers that measure the Whalers' success off the ice and in the community.

37 BAGS: That’s the number of large plastic bags needed to corral all the teddy bears and stuffed animals donated by Plymouth fans on Saturday, December 5 during the Whalers’ 10th annual teddy bear toss when Plymouth hosted the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.

The Whalers collected over 1,100 stuffed animals for families when Michal Jordan scored with 28 seconds left in the second period to tie the score at 1-1. When Jordan scored, the animals rained down in earnest from the 2,837 who attended the game.

The timing of the goal couldn’t have been better and referees Bob Langdon and TJ Luxmore sent the Whalers and ‘Hounds to their dressing rooms (tacking on the final 28 seconds to the third period) while members of the Compuware 96 AAA Hockey Team and Whalers staff collected the loot. The 18-minute intermission (the standard for the second intermission in the OHL) allowed enough time for the animals to be collected with no delay in the game.

The Plymouth United Way sent over a courtesy ambulance to transport the animals Monday morning from Compuware Arena. Now, the stuffed animals will find a safe home with needy families this season.

“We thank the fans for their support of the teddy bear toss,” said Char Merckel, Plymouth’s director of ticket sales. “The fans set a record for stuffed animals this year and we sincerely appreciate their contribution.”

ONE TON: That’s the amount of non-perishable food items the Whalers collected on November 28 during a food drive when Plymouth hosted the Kingston Frontenacs. One ton is an all-time Plymouth record.

$8,000: That’s the amount of money raised by the Whalers during their annual Pink Out! For Breast Cancer Awareness on October 24 against the Belleville Bulls. The Plymouth players dyed their hair pink and the Whalers wore specially designed jerseys for the event.

The pink, game-worn jerseys were auctioned off to fans later. Fans were able to bid anywhere between $200 and $1000 for the distinctive jerseys. As expected, Tyler Seguin’s game-worn jersey garnered the highest bid.

In addition, breast cancer survivors Sandy Schoenheide, Leza Ivezaj and Blanche Mack dropped the puck at center ice in a ceremonial faceoff before the start of the game.

The proceeds from the jersey auction, along with the 50/50 raffle and Hines Park Chuck-a-Puck all were donated to the Barbara Ann Karmanos Cancer Institute.

132: This is the amazing amount of events the Whalers have done appearances at this season through December 5.

The Whalers go to schools, visit church groups, conduct Learn-to-Skate sessions, go to and participate in youth teams’ practices and conduct a cross-section of activities designed to raise awareness and connect with the community.

While the Whalers have their own set of statistics based on their performance on the ice, there is a separate set of data measuring off-ice activity. Ryan Hayes (pictured) currently leads the Whalers with 27 different appearances, followed by RJ Mahalak (21), Austin Levi and Jamie Devane (20) and Josh Bemis (19).

"The players have definitely been busy,” said Natalie Shaver, Plymouth sales and marketing administrator. “We're just starting December and it doesn't look like we're slowing down either. The Whalers attending youth hockey practices program is picking up in popularity and they participate in Learn-to-Skate classes all year long.

“Plus, we're still busy in schools, especially for March is Reading Month. The players have been great and definitely have a positive impact in the community – especially with kids."

All totaled, Whalers players have teammed up for over 400 individual player appearances this season.

In another event to support the community, older Whaler players will be working as bartenders on Tuesday, December 15 from 7-10pm at Fiamma Grille, located at 380 S. Main in Plymouth. A portion of the proceeds collected will go to the Plymouth Goodfellows for their "No Child Without a Christmas" compaign.

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