This past weekend, Captain Nick Foligno hosted his Blue Jacket teammates, past and present, and other NHL pals at his family home in Sudbury for a weekend centered around raising money for a cause close to his heart — the NEO Kids Foundation, which funds medical equipment and integral research for children in northeast Ontario.
Before the annual players vs. doctors game on Sunday, which was attended by over 3,000 fans, the guys had some fun on the water. Notably, this impressive catch by Josh Anderson via Brandon Dubinsky took place off the back of a jet ski:
Besides Anderson and Dubi, Cam Atkinson, Seth Jones, Pierre-Luc Dubois, Boone Jenner and Scott Harrington made the trek up to Sudbury for the event. Matt Duchene, Anthony Duclair, John Tavares, Tyler Bertuzzi and Marc Staal were also in attendance.
“You just anxiously await seeing the guys and having fun with them and knowing you’re doing it all for a great cause, obviously something that is near and dear to my family’s heart. It makes it such a great weekend because I’m humbled by these guys coming up and sharing their time with us. I know how valuable time is in the summer. I think we’re all here for a great time, and I try to host them as best I can and show them the best side of Sudbury, and we have a lot of fun doing it,” Foligno told the Blue Jackets.
Toronto and Ottawa are the two closest cities to Sudbury that offer children’s care facilities, which are a four- and five-hour drive from Sudbury, respectively. The goal of the NEO Kids Foundation is to build a facility that will provide the same resources as Toronto and Ottawa to children and their families, minus the need to travel far from home.
Foligno had to be absent for a handful of games last fall — his daughter Milana was born with a heart defect, and she required a valve replacement surgery in Boston in December. Additionally, he missed four games when his son Hudson came down with pneumonia later in the season.
For these reasons, Foligno personally understands the impact that medical research and the importance of high-quality care facilities have on children and their families.
“It gives you a good feeling that you’re making a difference because you can’t the other ways. I’m not as smart as a doctor to able to help my daughter or find a cure for cancer. I wish I was, but there’s people in the world that can do that, right? So this is our way of contributing to that and this is our way of making a difference,” Foligno told the Blue Jackets.
Last year’s event raised $215,000, a total that was handily surpassed by this year’s staggering $348,848 grand total.
What a fantastic and humbling day! So many people to thank but more importantly we are moving this vision one step closer to the reality of building a NeoKids Health Facility! Let’s get it done!!! Thanks to everyone for their support and generosity! We are truly grateful! https://t.co/ZE1EfClxaF— Nick Foligno (@NickFoligno) August 13, 2019
Alas, the weekend was not entirely perfect: the guys had some issues with their baggage making it safely back to the states.
Flew on @AirCanada yesterday and they lost my hockey bag. It’s been 24 hours and still haven’t heard anything. They have not a clue where it is and not taking responsibility for it... last time I fly on this airline. Help— Seth Jones (@seth_jones3) August 13, 2019
You really hate to hear it.