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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Bruno Nominated for 10th Annual NHL Foundation Player Award

I know we’re not shy to hide the fact that Bruno Gervais is really one of the best guys in professional sports. A few weeks ago, the Islanders nominated Bruno for the 10th Annual NHL Foundation Player Award. That’s an award that is designed to promote the charitable efforts of current NHL players and to reward the player that best exemplifies a commitment to the community in which he lives. The NHL donates $25,000 to the players charity of choice.

Now why Bruno?

Islanders community relations coordinator Ann Rina wrote this letter to the NHL:

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Dear NHL Foundation Player Award Committee:

Since 1972, the New York Islanders have been a fixture in the Long Island community and a champion of charitable causes. It is through this dedication that the Islanders Children’s Foundation was created in the summer of 2003.

While every season, the entire Islanders organization shows a strong commitment to the Long Island community, one player that has gone above and beyond the call of duty is defenseman Bruno Gervais.

Despite being in the NHL for only two and half seasons, Bruno already embodies the spirit of the NHL Foundation by applying the core values of hockey-commitment, perseverance and teamwork to the people of Long Island.

Bruno knows how impressionable children are (he has said that if he wasn’t playing professional hockey, he’d be a teacher) and each year he makes it a point to visit local schools. During this year’s New York Islanders Literacy Day, he joined with his teammates in visiting local elementary schools to read to students and explain the importance of literacy and education.

He also took the time this season to visit local middle schools to talk about the importance of teamwork and how the importance of working together to achieve a common goal. Later this month, Bruno will be the post-game guest speaker at French Student Night at the Coliseum.

Bruno has made multiple visits to Schneider Children’s Hospital throughout the season going from room to room to give the children some hope and happiness. While he connected with many patients, one little boy really bonded with Bruno. The boy had just received a bone marrow transplant and had no real understanding of hockey. But as Bruno has such great way of connecting with children, when Bruno returned with his teammates a month later, he was only interested in seeing Bruno!

The past two seasons Bruno has connected with one of Long Island’s largest not for profit organizations, The American Red Cross. As an active member of The Red Cross Community, Bruno is currently featured in an informative Red Cross video and in the off-season traveled down from his home in Montreal to participate in one of their major events called the “Swim Across.” Bruno greeted and thanked each person for coming out to the event that day. The strong connection between Bruno and the Red Cross also led to a major fundraising event at an Islanders game this season where Bruno stayed after the game to meet the fans that participated.

At the beginning of the season Bruno showed his support for Long Island’s Volunteer Fire Departments by visiting a local a fire department with his fellow defenseman Chris Campoli. The pair learned what it takes to be firefighters and was featured in videos promoting “Firefighter Appreciation Night” on Islanders TV and in game at the Nassau Coliseum.

Bruno is also doing his part to help to grow the game of hockey here on Long Island by attending countless ticketing and youth hockey events where he will sign autographs, take pictures and give youth players encouragement and tips on how to improve their game.

There is no doubt that Bruno Gervais has increased his commitment to the people of Long Island. Bruno not only uses the core values of hockey on the ice but everyday of his life. There are numerous people on Long Island that have been positively affected by Bruno this past year, and I know that each year that number will increase. He has truly earned the respect of many Long Islanders and he strongly deserves to be nominated for this great award. I ask that you review this presentation carefully and realize that it takes someone special to touch the lives of so many in such a short amount of time. Bruno Gervais has become an integral part of the Islanders team and he will continue to enrich the lives of the people he encounters for years to come as a member of the New York Islanders.

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You can also watch a video produced by Islanders TV (Click here to watch) that was also included with his nomination. The nomination package that Ann put together also included letters from organizations and people that Bruno has worked closely with.

Earlier this season, Bruno and Pittsburgh Penguins forward Maxime Talbot created the Gervais-Talbot Foundation. Many raised will go to foundations that both players work closely with. The foundation will be holding a golf outing this summer in Montreal to raise money for the foundation.

And why Bruno? Well, he set up his own school assembly visit earlier in the year and was planning on doing everything himself before Ann stepped in to offer up her help.

That’s just the type of person Bruno is.

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