Carolina Hurricanes forward Andrei Svechnikov stepped up to help the community Wednesday afternoon, donating 2,500 masks and 25 large containers of hand sanitizer to the Boys & Girls Clubs of Wake County.
Svechnikov, who has been in Raleigh for two years after getting drafted second overall by the Hurricanes in 2018, made the donation to assist the Boys & Girls Clubs as they move towards reopening after closing due to COVID-19. Andrei Svechnikov’s brother Evgeny Svechnikov, a member of the Detroit Red Wings organization, made a similar donation in Detroit.
“When I was growing up as a kid it was a pretty tough time, so I just wanted to help the people during this time because it’s very difficult,” Andrei Svechnikov said. “This was a great idea to help with the Boys & Girls Club. I’m very happy to help.”
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Wake County have seven locations serving over 5,000 school-age members, according to president and CEO Ralph Capps. The donation from Svechnikov will help ensure the safety of staff currently visiting homes, as well as assist the clubs in reopening, which they hope to do next month.
“Stuff like this is going to be unbelievably valuable for that,” Capps said. “We are most appreciative of this gift. I will also say that the Hurricanes have been great partners to the Boys & Girls Clubs throughout the years...We certainly appreciate Andrei reaching out, and also the Hurricanes for what they have done for us throughout the years.”
The Canes have partnered with the Boys & Girls Clubs before, mainly by supporting the Capital City Crew. The organization gives inner-city youth access to playing hockey, something that many of them wouldn’t have without the support of the Boys & Girls Clubs and the Hurricanes.
“When the kids get out there it’s the first time a lot of them have ever skated,” Capps said. “It’s not long before they are all over the place skating really, really well and loving to play hockey. It’s also an opportunity for our kids to go to hockey games, and those kinds of things are just fantastic.”
Through the Hurricanes and his agent, Svechnikov was able to find the Boys & Girls Clubs and make the donation. For the Russian winger who has been a member of the Canes for just two years, helping his new community was important during these tough times.
“It’s been a very difficult time,” Svechnikov said. “It’s been a hard time. I just want to help the people. I’m excited.”
While the donation was the focus of the day Wednesday, Svechnikov did also discuss what he’s been doing during hockey’s stoppage to stay in shape and fill the time.
“My brother came here for a couple of months. We’ve been trying to work out at our place,” Svechnikov said. “We’ve got some Peloton bikes, just trying to compete. We’ve gone to the beach a couple of times, caught some mahi-mahi. That was exciting.”
While catching the fish has become a new hobby for Svechnikov, he did admit he hasn’t quite mastered cooking them yet. Like everyone in the hockey community though, Svechnikov is ready to get back on the ice. He hasn’t been able to skate yet, but he’s ready to get going.
“I can’t wait,” Svechnikov said. “It’s been a tough time. Hopefully everything comes down soon, and we play the season.”