There's no denying that the Calgary Flames have boatloads of talent on their roster. A lot of young talent. Young kids who likely grew up watching, playing, eating and breathing hockey for most of their lives. All this effort and talent has definitely transferred into what we see now on the ice. Soon these kids are going to be making more money...lots more, and with all this money and talent comes responsibility...lots of responsibility.
One of the biggest responsibilities of pro athletes is what most of us fans never see. The stuff that happens off the ice...outside the rink...in the communities they live in. I am not schooled in the politics and business end of pro sports so I couldn't tell you if athletes are contractually obligated to do so much in their community or if it is out of the kindness of their hearts. I would say a bit of both probably.
One of the biggest young talents in the Flames lineup is Centre Sean Monahan. This past season Monahan was a big presence on the ice and became a big presence off the ice as he became a Ronald McDonald House official ambassador along with Lance Bouma.
"Families who are staying at the house are most often going through the most challenging days of their lives. I am looking forward to hopefully brightening some families' days there and doing what I can to support an amazing charity here in Calgary." - Sean Monahan (Flames website article)
By becoming ambassadors, Monahan and Bouma donated tickets to games as well as making regular visits to the Ronald McDonald House in Calgary. When possible, the children and their families that utilize the Ronald McDonald House receive tickets and attend the games as well as a meet and greet with both Monahan and Bouma. The players also both attend Halloween pumpkin carving events, game nights and cooking nights.
"I have been to Calgary's Ronald McDonald House a few occasions in my time with the Flames and each time, I have been touched by what the house does for kids and families." - Lance Bouma (Flames website article)
The Calgary Flames Foundation does player matching for the numerous charities that various players are involved with to a maximum of $25,000 per season, per player. To date the foundation has contributed over $500,000 to Ronald McDonald House Charities which includes the Rotary Flames Park which is a quiet sanctuary and place for kids to play.
Sean Monahan wrote about his love of giving back to the community in a personal message for the Calgary Herald.
"Today, as Calgary Flames players, we're able to work with a variety of charities within the Calgary community, which are always rewarding experiences for every player. Being able to help out and share joy with others on a regular basis is one of the most rewarding parts of being an NHL player."