Utah Grizzlies donate more than $740,000 to charities

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Brianna Heim, a member of the Angel Hands Foundation, stands with the Utah Grizzlies after a game. This year the team donated $750,000 to charities including St. Jude Children’s Hospital and Primary Children’s Hospital. (Utah Grizzlies)

The Utah Grizzlies hockey team donated more than $740,000 to nonprofit organizations during the 2014–2015 season. Working with Primary Children’s Hospital, Veterans’ Affairs Salt Lake City Medical Center and the Fisher House, the Grizzlies gave cash, tickets, merchandise and ice time as donations and organized player visits with the team mascot, Grizzbee.

Adrian Denny, vice president of communications and marketing with the Grizzlies, said the donations are a focus for the Grizzlies every year. “From top to bottom, we’re a community organization, including the hockey team,” Denny said. “When players come here, it’s understood that they will be out and involved when they’re not on the ice.”

Added Denny, “Anyone that plays for us is going to be a good person; that’s the first thing we look for.”

The Grizzlies are active off the ice, with players visiting the children of U.S. veterans at the Fisher House or sick kids at Primary Children’s Hospital. “We love to have the players come and visit,” said Bonnie Midget, director of communications at Primary Children’s Hospital.

Among all the visits and cash donations, the Grizzlies bring people into the games and even put them on the bench during warm-ups. That kind of community interaction is what the Grizzlies strive for. “The players aren’t just doing it because they have to,” said Jill Atwood, public affairs officer at the Veterans’ Affairs Salt Lake City Medical Center. “They’re just good guys.”

The Grizzlies are setting their sights even higher for next season. “Our goal every year is to increase our amount, so that’s what we’re shooting for,” Denny said.

As for their community outreach, it doesn’t seem like much will change. “They typically do the reaching out,” Atwood said. “They’re always here for us.”

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