To anyone who ever said playing video games was ‘bad for your heath’ hasn’t met Roblin’s Jayce Hawryluk, or Winnipeg’s Connor Hellebuyck, Jack Roslovic and Anthony Bitetto. Or, as a matter of fact, any of the 70-plus NHL stars who gathered virtually on Monday, combining to donate $200K to a variety of charities and organizations, by playing the ever-popular ‘Fortnite’ video game online in trios.
In an event organized by Colorado’s JT Compher and Toronto’s Zach Hyman, NHL superstars from across the joined in on the action, blasting their way to team success, with Team Winnipeg (third place) and Team PB&J (fifth place) featuring the likes of some Jets and one Manitoba product.
With Robert Thomas, Vince Dunn and Jordan Kyrou of Team St. Louis finishing in first place with 70 points, the team decided to divide its $100K winnings between the St. Louis Children’s Hospital, Muscular Dystrophy Canada and the St. Louis Area Foodbank.
The Winnipeg trio (62 points) of Connor Hellebuyck, Jack Roslovic and Anthony Bitetto unanimously decided to donate its $25K in prize money to True North Sports + Entertainment’s ‘Project 11’ initiative. Roblin’s Jayce Hawryluk – who was paired up with former Winnipeg Jet Joe Morrow and Avalanche forward Jayson Megna – donated Team PB&J’s (32 points) $10K in fifth-place winnings to the Roblin District Community Foundation.
During the current COVID-19 pandemic, a number of NHL players have been spending significant time playing video games, and according to co-organizer JT Compher, the idea of a charitable online ‘gathering’ just seemed to be “the right thing to do”.
“We had a lot of guys wanting to be part of it, that was great to see,” he said. “Obviously, a lot of the guys enjoy playing Fortnite, and they also appreciate any chance to help out good causes. We definitely had a great turnout… Just the willingness of all the athletes to donate their time and showing their personalities, along with some high-end Fortnite skills from most.”