WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - A number of professional athletes have donated time and money to various organizations during the COVID-19 outbreak. Included in that group is one north country native who made a much needed donation to a hospital in the city where he plays.
Earlier this week, Detroit Red Wings goalie and Ogdensburg native Jimmy Howard donated $50,000 worth of N-95 masks to Detroit Medical Center to help hospital workers dealing with COVID-19 patients.
Howard says he was motivated by his fellow teammates to get involved with helping those on the front line.
“Dylan Larkin and Justin Abdelkader send on me right away. They jumped at the opportunity to help out, but I wanted to do it in my own unique way as well. One thing with wearing a mask, you know, for my whole adulthood and childhood, you know, I figured that would be the best way to do it. The only thing is it took us a while to find the masks,” said Howard.
Howard says the thought has crossed his mind to possibly reach out in some way to help out in the Ogdensburg area and St. Lawrence County, which has been hit rather hard by the coronavirus outbreak.
“It’s always been a thought, you know? My dad still lives in Ogdensburg, and you know, I still have friends up in the north country. So you know, constantly in touch with them to see how everything’s playing out and to see how they are doing,” said Howard.
Howard is heavily involved with charitable work through his Jimmy Howard Foundation, which was founded in 2017 and helps families facing hardships both financially and medically.
“Rachel and I started the foundation just to really give back to the community. You know, we’ve been so blessed and so fortunate to, you know, over the years to call this place home, Detroit home, and we felt like we needed to give back to the community. So one of my favorites is, you know tough times during the holidays, you know, at Christmas time going down and spreading some Christmas cheer for the families that unfortunately have to be, you know, in the hospital you know, over the holidays. So you know, really I enjoyed doing that,” said Howard.
Howard says a little part of his involvement with his charity stems a little bit from his involvement with the Ogdensburg Boys and Girls Club growing up.
“It’s where I learned to play sports for the most part. You know, my dad coaching high school hockey and teaching, and my mom also teaching, you know, I had to find something to do and it was only around the corner. So you know, to be able to go there and to play pickup basketball, floor hockey, baseball, wiffleball, you know, all the sports. The list goes on and on. You know, for me growing up in Ogdensburg, it was a blessing,” said Howard.
Howard has been living in Detroit for the past 13 years while playing for the Red Wings and says Detroit holds a special place in his heart.
“It definitely does. This is home, this is where my 4 children have been born, you know? This is where they’ll be raised. So even though my wife’s from Maine and I’m from New York, we’re proud to be called Michiganders now,” said Howard.
Jimmy Howard: making a difference both on and off the ice and giving back to the community he calls home.
On Thursday, the Watertown Wolves named Brent Clarke their new head coach, replacing Paul MacLean who spent just 1 season at the helm of the team.
Clarke makes a return to Watertown, where he led the team to its best point total in history and its first Federal Hockey League Championship in 2015. It was his only season leading the Wolves.
Clarke comes back to Watertown from Elmira, where he coached the Enforcers the past couple of seasons.
Clarke says one of the reasons for his return is the shared vision between him and team owner Andreas Johansson.
“No, absolutely, I got to meet him for the first time and, you know, he’s a younger guy like myself and you know, we just kinda hit it off and you know, just talked about the direction he wanted the Wolves to go this season and, you know, expectations and what I could bring. You know, we just wanted to bounce stuff off each other and it seemed to be a good fit. And yeah, no, I just kinda went home and waited for the call and, you know, if it was gonna happen it’d be great and just go from there.” said Clarke.