SUN Hockey Pool

Oil wives score for charity

TAMAS VIRAG, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:39 AM ET

In Edmonton, behind every great hockey player ... is a woman wanting to do something good for her community.

For years, wives and girlfriends of Oilers have volunteered their time to raise money and awareness for a variety of causes.

"We all live and work in this community. Anything that we can do to contribute to the welding of our community is important," said Natalie Minckler, a spokesman for the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, which works closely with the wives and girlfriends.

"The players and their wives have children who attend school here, they go to the park, they go to the local recreation centres, they play minor hockey, they're all involved. I think we all take personal pride in making it a better place to live."

The ladies run a handful of successful charity events, including selling autographed hats for cancer, selling players' jerseys, and auctioning off a basket full of players' favourite items.

This season, the ladies will raise around $300,000 to benefit the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the Rainbow Society, cancer research and the WIN House women's shelter, among others. That number is enough to surprise even veteran fundraisers like Ornella Moreau, Ethan's wife.

"It's amazing. When we first started to do the hats I thought it's just too many hats to push out in one game or two games," she recalled yesterday. "When they sold before the game even started I would get teary-eyed. When you think of the amount of money in a three-hour span it's just incredible. There is not another team in the NHL that does this. The fans are unbelievable."

Moreau is a stay-at-home mom who, along with her husband, devotes her energy to not only her children, but to the children of those less fortunate than her.

"When you see what they go through, they're such strong people ... the parents that go through every day with these sick children, they're really special people and you feel good. You feel like what you're doing is putting smiles on someone's face."


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