Friday, January 8th, 2016
We recently had a chance to speak with Chris Summers, who is currently playing with the Hartford Wolf Pack, the AHL affiliate of the New York Rangers. Chris is actively engaged in the communities he plays in and is an HP4K Member who is running a Young Leaders Program this year in Hartford.
Thank you, Chris, for taking the time to give back and for answering a few questions today.
The life of a professional athlete can be quite demanding, why do you take the time out of your hectic schedule to contribute to the communities in which you play?
I am very fortunate to be able to play a sport I love, and also have the ability to provide for my family while doing so. I think it is a privilege to do what I do and a privilege to have the opportunity to give back to the community. Our young fans look up to us as role models in the community making it even that much more important for us as professionals to make sure we are setting a good example.
The Young Leaders Program is a new mentorship program offered by HP4K and initiated by hockey players, such as yourself. Why did you choose to run this specific program and what do you believe are the benefits for the students taking part?
I chose the Young Leaders Program because I have the opportunity to have a positive effect on students who are about to take a major next step in their lives. It was too long ago that I was in a very similar situation as these kids. All of the students who are a part of the program are student-athletes who are constantly juggling school, family, friends, and athletics. I never had a mentor at that age to give me a ‘heads-up’ on what I might expect moving through high school and then into college, so I want to give these kids a first-hand experience on some of situations I went through.
You have been playing in the NHL and AHL for a few years now, what advice would you give to younger players entering the league in regard to contributing to the communities in which they play?
Hockey players are a unique breed of athletes in the sense that they are (for the most part) extremely selfless. I am always trying to make sure that guys know just how important it is to have an impact in the community they call ‘home’ for that season. An hour or two out of your day can last a lifetime for someone else. It is important to understand that people look up to us, and the image that we portray in public can have a lasting effect.
About Hockey Players for Kids (HP4K)
HP4K is a nonprofit organization made up of hockey players around the world who are dedicated to positively impacting the communities they play in.
HP4K believes that promoting player interaction with children is the best way they can achieve this impact, and acts as a catalyst in connecting players with kids in their communities.
A career in pro hockey means constant relocation, and it can be difficult for athletes to feel engaged in the cities they live in. HP4K empowers players by providing an outlet for community service efforts.
Hockey Players for Kids was founded to:
-Encourage pro hockey players to get involved in their cities
-Show pro hockey players just how easy it can be to get involved in meaningful community service projects
-Make a positive difference in the lives of kids
-Provide a network for members to share ideas and resources
-Influence other people to go out and do something in their community
For more information or to get involved, please contact:
Ryan Pelley, Executive Director, Hockey Players for Kids (HP4K)
Office: (709) 743-4387