Former St. Louis Blues forward Cam Janssen is as tough as they come, but the rugged winger admitted becoming emotionally moved by the damage caused by Hurricane Sandy.
Janssen will join former Blues teammates and other NHL players in a benefit hockey game Saturday to help first responders and victims impacted by the hurricane. Game time is 7:30 p.m. at the Hardees IcePlex in Chesterfield, Mo.
Tickets are $20 each, with VIP tickets available for $200 that include special seating, complimentary food and drinks and a private after-party with the players.
Among those scheduled to play are Janssen, David Backes, Andy McDonald, Barret Jackman, Alex Pietrangelo, T.J. Oshie, Brian Elliott, Kevin Shattenkirk, Scott Nichol former Blues players Jamal Mayers and Ty Conklin, St. Louis native NHL player Chris Butler and ex-Blues Jamie Rivers and Jim Campbell.
Some of Janssen's former college and high school teammates are also involved
"It's going to be as competitive, that's what I want it to be," said Janssen, who grew up in Eureka, Mo. "There's going to be NHL guys out there every other shift and we're going to be tired because it's the Olympic (sized) rink, too."
Tickets are available now at www.responderresecue.org, or by calling 314-627-0700. Anyone that can't attend but still wants to make a donation can do that at the following link: https://www.responderrescue.org/donations.html.
"We are selling some tickets," Janssen said. "People better get their tickets quick, because it's going really good."
Janssen now plays for the New Jersey Devils. He said during the hurricane, which hit much of the northeastern U.S., he and his fiancee were blown away by the extensive damage they saw on television.
Janssen had many friends and teammates living directly in the storm's path.
"I was sitting on my couch watching the Weather Channel and Fox News and brainstorming," Janssen said. "I was watching this devastating hurricane that trampled this region of the United State, this highly populated region, and just couldn't believe it.
"We looked at each other like 'We've got to do something,''' he said. "I made a couple phone calls and called the right people, then all of a sudden we got some structure down for the event."
Janssen was not surprised in the least when so many of his hockey friends and non-hockey friends were quick to lend a hand for the charity event.
"You really find out who's your true friends," Janssen said. "There are so many people who are helping me and really getting nothing out of it...they're going out of their way to help me put this thing on."
During the lockout, Janssen and many Blues players are working out at the IcePlex in Chesterfield under the guidance of a pair of ex-Blues, River and Jeff Brown.
"I'm very fortunate to have all these guys in my town to skate with," Janssen said. "Jamie Rivers and Jeff Brown put us through all this drill work and skills every single day. You still miss the game and the competitiveness, the crowds, that euphoria and high that you get from a fight or a big hit."
Contact reporter Norm Sanders at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239-2454.