Predators And Thrashers Players Lend A Helping Hand

Certainly, the events of Hurricane Katrina have left an unmistakable mark on the Southeast and the Gulf region.

In response to this, and in order to assist the community in their effort to rebuild, the NHL and the NHLPA announced a joint venture with Habitat For Humanity to build six homes throughout the Southeast and Gulf regions.


Atlanta Thrashers goalie Johan Hedberg (hammering) is taking part in the Habitat For Humanity “Operation Home delivery”. Defenseman Niclas Havelid is in the background. Photo by Scott Chester


As two of the closest NHL cities, the Nashville Predators and Atlanta Thrashers have joined with “Operation Home Delivery” to build homes in their metro areas.

The Predators got the project started on May 17, when a number of Predators players and staff assisted the Habitat folks to construct the frame of a home at the Gaylord Entertainment Center plaza.

Among those lending a hand was Atlanta Thrashers GM Don Waddell (fourth from left).
Photo by Scott Chester

“We spent several hours out on the plaza with the Habitat folks and some volunteers basically constructing the frame of a home,” Predators director of media relations Gerry Helper said. “From there, they loaded up the frame and took it to the subdivision in which this was going to be located.”

Reflecting on the experience as a whole, Helper said the event was one that helped the organization grow.

“It’s one of those things that’s a great team-building exercise for our organization,” Helper said. “Obviously throughout the year, we’re focused on doing our own jobs, but I think an event like this or an opportunity like this is a terrific opportunity to realize how fortunate all of us are in our careers and in our lives.”

Months later, the Predators put out a notice on their Web site inviting fans to participate. Together, with the help of fans and volunteers, the Nashville home was completed on October 22, and Helper and Predators goaltender Tomas Vokoun were among those in attendance.

“You know, you go to a number of these type of things, and they are all unique in their own way, but I think this one in particular was very touching to realize what it meant to these people,” Helper said. “It was pretty humbling and emotional.”

Helper said while nobody plans for situations like that to occur, sometimes circumstances beyond anyone’s control happen, forcing people to ask other for help.

“What happened to the folks in New Orleans could happen to anyone,” Helper said. “And it may not be in the form of a hurricane. It may be a fire or a tornadoes, it may be blizzards, but that type of scenario could unfold anywhere at any time.”

Additional homes will be constructed in the New Orleans and Dallas areas in the future. For more information about Habitat for Humanity, visit




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