righttoplayThis weekend at least 25 NHL players, including Boston Bruins defensemen Andrew Ference and Zdeno Chara, will be donating money to Right to Play based on their ice time in one of their teams’ games.

Ference and Chara, two of the biggest reasons for Right to Play’s visibility in the NHL, as well as Washington superstar Alexander Ovechkin, will be donating money based on their ice time in the Bruins-Captials tilt tomorrow at TD Banknorth Garden.

Funds raised will support Right To Play’s sport and play programs in 23 countries of operation across Africa, Asia, the Middle East and South America. By training local community leaders as coaches to deliver these programs, Right To Play provides similar growth opportunities and positive role models for 600,000 children in Right To Play activities every week.

You’ll remember that Chara garnered international attention for the organization at All-Star weekend with his challenge to get every other competitor in the hardest shot competition, plus the NHL, the players’ teams and the NHLPA to donate money into a pool. When Chara won that contest, the funds went to Right to Play.

Chara, Ovechkin, San Jose center Joe Thornton and Anaheim defenseman Chris Pronger are some of the bigger names involved in this weekend’s efforts.

“When those guys talk, it’s a big deal,” said Ference about the benefits of having some of the game’s biggest names involved. “When I grew up in Edmonton, the Oilers always had a page in the program that listed organizations that guys were involved in. I always remember reading through and looking at those guys. It means a lot when a kid sees that, to know that you’re trying to do something other than hockey. As a parent, I’d rather have my kid aware of those things that people are doing rather than just how many magazine they’re in and stuff like that.”

“It just shows their depth of character because everyone knows them as hockey superstars, but people become real fans when they actually get to know the person.”