Washington Capitals defenseman John Carlson is among several NHL players set to take part in a charity game in Atlantic City, N.J., to raise money for Sandy relief efforts.
Carlson, who grew up in New Jersey, will join several New York Rangers and Philadelphia Flyers, as part of the Operation Hat Trick game Nov. 24 at Boardwalk Hall. Ex-Caps center Jeff Halpern and ex-defenseman Steve Eminger are also expected to play.
Halpern said in a phone interview Friday night that he and fellow Rangers players discussed playing in the game with Todd Fedoruk, now an ECHL coach, who had been skating in Voorhees, N.J., with guys from the Flyers.
“Fridge lives close to the shore, too, so he was hit by it pretty hard,” Halpern said. “He was a guy who really took the reins of it and had pretty close connections with myself and Steve Eminger and real good connections with Philly. Todd was the main guy who orchestrated and organized all this.”
New York’s Brad Richards will captain one team, while Philadelphia’s Scott Harntell will captain the other.
But it’s not just Flyers and Rangers. Carlson, Pittsburgh Penguins winger James Neal and Anaheim Ducks winger Bobby Ryan are among those committed.
“I’ve been skating half the time in New York and half the time in Washington,” Halpern said. “I know John Carlson who’s a New Jersey native, really wanted to be a part of that game. A few of those guys just want to play, too. It’s a good excuse to just play a hockey game.”
Halpern, who has a place in Lower Manhattan, was back home in the D.C. area when Sandy hit. He couldn’t go back to New York City until a week and a half after the storm hit.
The ex-Caps captain who signed with the Rangers in the offseason took part in a charity event on Staten Island on Friday.
He’ll be on a New York team that is expected to include Eminger, Brian Boyle, Taylor Pyatt and Henrik Lundqvist. Philadelphia’s team is expected to include Kimmo Timonen, Braydon Coburn, Simon Gagne, Ville Leino, Jody Shelley, Wayne Simmonds and Steve Downie. Ex-Flyers forward James van Riemsdyk, who grew up a Rangers fan, is listed among those who will be playing.
Proceeds from the game will benefit the American Red Cross, Hurricane Sandy NJ Relief Fund and Empire State Relief Fund.