|Dustin Brown's partnership with Kaboom has resulted in the Kings captain building playgrounds in the Ithaca, NY area as well as in Los Angeles.
Dustin Brown just doesn't know how to not give up his time and energy on and off the ice.
As a left wing and captain of the Los Angeles Kings, Brown regularly is among the team's leading scorers and a fixture in the League as one of the hits leaders. The many little things Brown does well has drawn him numerous accolades as a player on the rise, an intense competitor, a team-first player and an unsung hero. In short, he's a leader by example.
Off the ice, Brown stays true to that form by generously giving of his time to charitable and community causes.
"It's part of being a spokesperson for the team, and not only the team but for yourself," Brown told NHL.com. "Everything that goes on on the ice is great, but you jump at the opportunity to make a difference away from the rink outside of hockey."
It's no surprise that in 2008-09, Brown was a finalist for the NHL Foundation Player Award, which is presented to a player "in recognition of his commitment and service to charities in his community." He also was selected the Bill Libby Memorial Award winner (Kings' MVP), Most Popular Player and was the recipient of the Kings' Community Service Award.
Brown has close ties to several causes, among them the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the Children's Cancer Research Fund, and KaBOOM!, a non-profit organization with the mission of establishing a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America.
"I'm working currently with KaBOOM!, which is an organization that builds playgrounds for kids," said Brown, who sought a program that would have a positive impact on the country's childhood obesity epidemic and encourage children to be active and healthy.
"It's a whole other dynamic when you put kids involved in it," he said. "A lot of the time all you have to do is give them your time, and a lot of the time they don't even know who you are but they're excited to see you. Just to see the smile on their faces is fun."
Last season, Brown pledged $50 to KaBOOM! for every body check he recorded. The 25-year-old ranked third in the NHL with 285 hits, raising a total of $14,250. Brown, in conjunction with the Kings Care Foundation, is continuing his partnership with KaBOOM! this season. You can follow his progress on the Dustin Brown KaBOOM! Hit Tracker.
With KaBOOM!, Brown has helped build playgrounds in his hometown of Ithaca, N.Y., and in the Los Angeles area, partnering with former teammate Derek Armstrong to lead the design team for a new playground at the Bellflower (Calif.) YMCA. From the beginning, Brown worked with the children to come up with the overall design, and then helped construct the new playground last March. He also became a KaBOOM! All Star Playmaker, promoting the importance of play across the country.
"Dustin recognizes the extreme importance of kids having a great place to play," said Lisa Attman Palmer of KaBOOM! "As a father, Dustin understands that playgrounds are where kids learn how to run, jump and swing, but also how to respect and play with others. Because of Dustin's efforts, thousands of children now have a great place to play and he's helped KaBOOM! move closer to our vision of a great place to play within walking distance of every child in America."
Brown also is a spokesperson for the Children's Cancer Research Fund, and he encouraged fans to support the "Kings 4 Kids Night," which raised nearly $25,000 for the organization. He is a supporter of the Childrens Hospital Los Angeles and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, and he participates in all Kings community initiatives, including the Adopt-a-Family program, through which players provide holiday gifts for underprivileged families.
Brown was named the Los Angeles Kings' "Hometown Hero" at the Southern California Sports Choice Awards and was recognized as a 2009 Outstanding Young Californian by the California Jaycees Foundation and the California Junior Chamber for his "commitment to challenge and inspire California's youth."
"Not everyone is as blessed to do this," Brown said. "As professional athletes, we have the opportunity to help the less fortunate or people who are in a lot tougher circumstances than we are. Ultimately, it's just a matter of giving your time and that will make a difference for someone who is maybe going through a rough time or struggling. So it's something that I personally enjoy."
Contact Rocky Bonanno at firstname.lastname@example.org
Author: Rocky Bonanno | NHL.com Staff Writer