The Malik Report
by George Malik on 03/01/11 at 11:53 PM ET
Last week I spoke to Jen MacRostie about the Herm 2 Hockeytown 2 phenomenon, and this week, one of the other driving forces behind the charitable initiative started by our beloved Chief, Ellen Manuszak from Big Red Machine, talks about H2H2:
1. For readers who may be unfamiliar with the Herm 2 Hockeytown phenomenon, when did it begin, and what’s it all about?
Ellen Manuszak: Herm to Hockeytown started with a simple, “what if…?” What if we, the online Red Wings fan community, could raise enough money to bring a Wings fan from Brazil—Herm—to Detroit for his first ever live hockey game?
It’s amazing what a bunch of fanatics and fake friends who share a common passion can accomplish—in as little as two weeks there was enough money raised to bring Herm stateside, and then some. So the question turned from “what if” to, “what now?” It seemed like a natural evolution to donate the surplus funds to a charity in the Detroit community, and it was decided that it would go to benefit Children’s Hospital of Michigan, an organization that we knew the Red Wings have supported in the past.
As evidenced by the past two games in Florida, we know that Red Wings Nation is spread all across the continent. Herm to Hockeytown served to prove this concept of “Hockeytown, No Limits” by bringing together fans from all across the world.
H2H2 continues that sentiment, albeit with the focus shifted slightly off the individual and onto the community. H2H2 represents Home, Help, Hope, or whatever else you decide. It’s about loving not only the Detroit Red Wings, but also the city of which they’re a part; for most of us we feel just as connected to the team as we do their location. Mike Illitch committed to Detroit by keeping the Wings downtown, and we’re doing our part to give back to the community in whatever way we can, as well.
2. Who benefits from the donations? Does the Red Wings’ front office help the H2H2 cause?
Ellen : 100% of proceeds is going to benefit the Children’s Hospital of Michigan Foundation. Children’s is a leading center of juvenile healthcare and the donation will serve to support their efforts in providing outstanding service to sick children.
The Red Wings office has been great in helping us make H2H2 even more of a success than H2H was, from everyone’s favorite ticket executive Ryan Michaels to community relations coordinator and familiar face to the blogging community, Christy Hammond. They’ve made getting blocks of tickets for the game a breeze, as well as helped us gather more items to be donated for the prize drawing.
In addition to the Red Wings, I have to express gratitude to the other organizations who have aided us in donating prizes for the drawing, including the NHL, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Grand Rapids Griffins, the NHLPA, and of course, each of the individuals who have also provided items as well.
3. Who’s involved in the planning of this year’s gathering?
Ellen : Most of the same crew is back—Jen MacRostie is doing a ton of the heavy lifting, making sure that we have a venue for the pre-game party, tickets, hotel space, and generally herding cats. Mike Serven’s once again been invaluable in his determination to get us the cool prizes that everyone’s hoping to win. And Michael Petrella has been a true inspiration, with running and promoting the pledge drive, as well as being instrumental to getting the word out about H2H2 to the team and staff on his recent trip with the Wings.
To get into the nuts and bolts a little bit, I have emails dated back to June when we first started discussing H2H2 plans, which gives a bit of insight on how much effort has been put into making this a top-notch time for everyone. Jen has worked extremely hard (you all owe her a beer!) in figuring out the best game date to choose, securing tickets for the game itself along with Hockeytown Cafe for the pre-game party, getting a head count, working with a local hotel to get a block of rooms set aside at a premium rate, and making sure that everyone pays for their tickets. I ensured that we were vetted and approved by DMC to raise money on their behalf, and worked out the logistics of the donations and prize drawing. Once the foundation was laid we were free to reach out to contacts for prize donations, and again, a lot of that credit goes to Mike Serven, as well as Sara Schropp and Sara Neuenschwander for their help in this. Prizes in hand, a new website was built and launched.
As much as I’d like to say that we all kicked back and watched money roll in the door, there was and is still quite a bit to get done. We continually pitched H2H2 to potential prize donors, and with the help of Michael, worked on spreading the word across the fanbase with the pledge drive, as well as internally in the Red Wings organization.
We’ll be working hard up until Friday to ensure that everyone has a fantastic time. H2H is a big, long-term undertaking, but I feel like I can speak for several of us when I say I’ve never been more proud to be a part of something than this.
4. What’s on tap this year in terms of events and activities? Who’s attending?
Ellen : Similar to last year there will be a pre-game party at Hockeytown Cafe on Friday, March 11. We’ll have additional door prizes that can be won. More than that, it’s a chance to meet and catch up with friends—whether you’ve never met other A2Yers or members of the Wings online community before, it’s amazing how familiar and comfortable the experience is.
There is, of course, the game itself, which takes place against the Oilers. The great part about this is taking the live blogs and Twitter commentary offline and into the arena, with 150 of your closest friends.
The rest of the weekend is extremely flexible—there are plans for Euchre tournaments, trips to the Henry Ford museum, shinny, and more. Several people are arriving early to attend the Kings game on Wednesday, and I’m sure there will also be an impromptu gathering of people at a bar to watch the Saturday game.
5. Where can people donate to the cause, and how can they make pledges based on certain events happening during games?
Ellen : You can go to www.hockeytownherm.org to view the prizes that are available, and to donate. If you’d like to participate in the pledge drive, either contact The Production Line on Twitter at @TPLHockey, email them, or you can click through via the H2H2 website to the official pledge drive page.
6. How can people who are late-comers get involved?
Ellen: Donate! You can still contribute and be involved with H2H2 just as much as those who are going to Detroit by donating directly to H2H2, or by pledging money through TPL. Be a part of something special by giving even just $5 to H2H2.
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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.