Hockey Helping Kids founder Randy De Meno and 1,000-point NHL scorer Brian Bellows are getting it done within the NHL community.
It’s a game. It’s always been a game. It will forever remain just a game. Forget million-dollar contracts and TV deals fit to suit a king for a moment. All individuals involved with the National Hockey League need to remind oneself that it will always remain just a game.
The game of hockey.
Meet Randy De Meno, Chief Technologist of Commvault and the founder of Hockey Helping Kids, an organization that’s raised $1.4 million for local charities supporting underprivileged families and children with disabilities.
What they do is travel from one NHL arena to another with the intent of raising as much dough as possible—for all the right reasons. This past Thursday night, Randy and company were in Brooklyn as the New York Islanders defeated the crosstown Rangers 3-0.
The event timeline is as follows:
- A “Junior Varsity (JV)” game including children from local charities, members of local charitable organizations, Commvault partners and customers and frequently, former NHL and veteran Olympic players.
- A “Varsity” game with Commvault’s Employee Hockey Team playing against another team, often consisting of veteran Olympic and former NHL players.
- A reception and dinner where game participants and other invited guests watch that night’s NHL game together while raising money for local children’s charities through auctions, raffles and other activities. All proceeds from these activities go to the local children’s charities that have been identified in each city.
You may just know a few of the individuals who participate on a regular basis.
- Alana Blahoski, Olympic ice hockey player and gold medalist in the 1998 Olympics
- Lisa Chesson, Olympic ice hockey player in the 2010 Olympics
- Pru Hyer, Commvault / Hockey Helping Kids staff
- Taylor Lown, Marketing Coordinator, Commvault / Hockey Helping Kids staff
- Bob Hammer, CEO, Commvault
- Brian Bellows, former 1,000-point NHL scorer
Prior to the Isles-Rangers game and the Hockey Helping Kids event, Elite Sports NY caught up with Randy De Meno and Brian Bellows.
Rob Sabo: After running the event in Phoenix, Arizona and St. Paul, Minnesota this season, how excited are you to be in New York?
Randy De Meno: Being a New Yorker, it’s always special to work Hockey Helping Kids here in New York. And the New York Islanders organization is tremendous, as are the Rangers. They always give us a key rivalry game. We’ve been here the last several years. And since we’re raising money for the Long Island Chapter of Autism Speaks, it’s why we’re here for Rangers-Islanders.
It’s amazing to have the opportunity to give back in a creative and unique way in which we run a charity event … a business event and a hockey event in which we get our partners’ children on the ice in what we call our JV game in the afternoon. We then have some fun at dinner, raise money, and then go back for our Varsity game after the NHL game is played—my most fun part of the evening in which we play either the U.S. Women Olympians or NHL alumni or sometimes another one of our sponsors, and this is the case tonight with SHI.
RS: A little more about that JV vs. Varsity breakup. Who are the some of the names that participate?
RD: Sure. Lisa Chesson is here tonight, USA Olympic ice hockey player and silver medalist from the 2010 Olympics, and 1,000-point scorer Brian Bellows, who’s jumped in about a dozen times with us, is here as well. They all have Commvault jerseys and are all considered a part of the Commvault family. It’s always a special treat for us when we can share the ice with them.
RS: On a personal note, Bellows is going to be a little shorthanded without you tonight, correct?
RD: Ah, yes. I don’t get to play tonight because I’m coming off quadruple bypass surgery a month ago which was much to the surprise of me and my family because I had no symptoms. I did get permission to skate, though.
RS: Any highlights from the previous Phoenix and St. Paul events you’d like to share?
RD: The season actually started off in Columbus, Ohio, and it was Commvault against the Blue Jackets alumni. And that was in November. We raised money for Ohio Sled Hockey and Ohio Special Hockey. Beleive it or not, we defeated the Jody Shelley-led Jackets alumni team 12-10. But there’s no truth to the rumor we’re hiring people based purely on hockey ability.
RS: Any information you’d like to provide about Commvault?
RD: We’re an information company. For example, if you needed information about all of the possible destinations of stats on Ryan McDonagh and where he could land during this specific trade deadline, we’d come back with full analytics, returned in about three seconds. That’s what we do. Data management. We started Hockey Helping Kids in 2001, much of a way to get people interested in Commvault. The first event attracted so many people it just took off from there, raising $1.4 million along the way.
***For the full interview, the audio can be found on Sabo Radio below.
Hockey Helping Kids will be in Philadelphia at the Wells Fargo Center on Thursday, March 22, 2018, when the Flyers welcome in the Rangers.