NHL, CFL teams donate to relief efforts for evacuees of Alberta wildfire
'All of our teams, and I know all of our fans, wish them safe passage and in time a full recovery'
Alberta's professional sports teams are contributing to relief efforts after raging wildfires forced the evacuation of tens of thousands of people from the city of Fort McMurray and other northern municipalities.
The NHL's Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames have each donated $100,000 to the Canadian Red Cross and have encouraged fans to make contributions.
The league later announced it would also be donating $100,000 to the relief organization.
"The National Hockey League family stands with all who have been affected by the devastating fires in Fort McMurray," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said in a statement. "We send thoughts of support and encouragement to our neighbors as they confront the physical and emotional impacts of this disaster."
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Meanwhile, the Edmonton Eskimos are spearheading a CFL initiative that includes a combined $50,000 donation to the Red Cross from all nine teams.
"Our thoughts are with the people of Fort McMurray," said Jeffrey L. Orridge, Commissioner of the Canadian Football League.
Last summer, the oilsands capital hosted the Northern Kickoff, where the "home team" Toronto Argonauts hosted the Edmonton Eskimos in a CFL regular-season match at SMS Equipment Stadium at Shell Place.
"They have been our gracious hosts. They are our friends. And most importantly, they are our fellow Canadians. All of our teams, and I know all of our fans, wish them safe passage and in time a full recovery from this crisis."
Help is coming from outside the province as well, with the St. Louis Blues donating the proceeds of their 50/50 raffle at Thursday's Stanley Cup playoff game toward relief efforts.
Blues forward Scottie Upshall is a Fort McMurray native.
Canadian golfer Graham DeLaet pledged $500 for every birdie he makes this week to the Canadian Red Cross. He is playing at the PGA's Wells Fargo Championship in Charlotte, N.C.