Barkov continues to bring joy to Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital
Less than 24 hours after helping the Panthers to a 4-3 win in New Jersey, Aleksander Barkov was bringing smiles to patients at Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital.
Kicking off the fifth season of his personal partnership with the world-renowned hospital, the Panthers superstar captain was there to meet with patients and drop off a check for $97,600.
As part of his generous pledge, Barkov donates $1,600 for every goal he scores (in honor of his No. 16) and $800 for every assist he dishes out throughout the regular season and playoffs.
“I love giving back to the community,” said Barkov, who has already compiled $2,400 in additional donations with three assists through three games this season. “I’ve been fortunate enough to be able to play here for such a long time in Florida for the Panthers.
“They’ve given me every opportunity to have success, and I wanted to give something back to the community. Joe DiMaggio’s Children’s Hospital is a perfect fit for that. I love what they are doing here. I love helping them. I love bringing kids to the games, visiting here, seeing kids here.”
Nominated previously for the NHL’s King Clancy Memorial Trophy, which is awarded annually “to the player who best exemplifies leadership qualities on and off the ice and has made a noteworthy humanitarian contribution in his community,” Barkov’s lifetime donation recently surpassed $300,000.
“I’ve known these people for a long time and what they do here,” Barkov said with a smile. “I really appreciate that. It’s nice meeting them. Obviously every time I meet some new kids here, it brings a smile to my face and everyone’s faces. I’m just happy to come here and see that.”
In addition to his check presentation, Barkov also snapped pics and played games with patients.
Putting his skills to work, he also played more than a few games of air hockey.
“Meeting people who work here, they’re all heroes,” said Barkov, who visits the hospital a few times a year. “They save lives and make kids happier. I’m really happy to help people here.”
As much as Barkov loves visiting the patients, they also love to visit him.
In addition to his annual donation, the big-hearted Finn also buys and donates a suite at Amerant Bank Arena each season to the hospital so that children, families, doctors, nurses and caretakers can enjoy hockey.
“It means a lot,” Barkov said of his personal cheering section, known at the rink as Barky’s Buddies. “It’s always pretty full. There’s always kids from here and families that cheer for us and help us to win games and help us to have success. That’s amazing. That’s the best part of it.”
Whether he’s on the ice or in the community, Barkov is all about giving back.
“That’s what it’s all about,” he said. “We play for the fans and we play for the kids.”
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