Ottawa Senators' Chris Neil goes on a neighbourhood bottle drive
It’s not unusual for hockey players to go door-to-door on a bottle drive, looking for donated empty beer, wine and spirit bottles to raise a little money for their team.
Not unusual for young, minor hockey players, that is.
It is most unusual when that hockey player is a seasoned veteran of the NHL, and a high-profile member of the Ottawa Senators.
So imagine the surprise in a quiet Kanata neighbourhood when Chris Neil came knocking.
He and his wife, Caitlin, were conducting a bottle drive of their own to help raise money for a special “team.” The Neils are the honorary co-chairs of Roger Neilson House, a special palliative care facility for children named after a much-respected member of the Sens coaching staff, the late Roger Neilson.
“These families really benefit from it and so for me to donate some time to come door-to-door and get some bottles it's the least I can do," says Chris Neil.
"Roger Neilson House just really impacts their life in a positive way so for us to be a part of that is just great for us," echoes Caitlin Neil.
Residents who opened their doors to the Neils were pleasantly surprised and quick to donate. “I was actually pretty shocked to see Chris Neil show up at our house,” says Chad Yake. “We were just sitting down and he's knocking on the door asking for bottles."
The surprise bottle drive was designed to promote to a much bigger fundraiser, the annual Returns for Roger Neilson House. From now to Sep. 11th, people across Eastern Ontario are encouraged to bring their beer, wine and spirit empties to any Beer Store as a donation. “The goal this year is $80,000,” says The Beer Store’s Bernard Potvin. “All the money will go towards necessary repairs at Roger Neilson House."
For Chris Neil, it was fun to be that hockey player, even for a day. “You get the minor hockey teams that come through your neighbourhood and clean your garage out for you. So it's a couple of older kids coming around, and for a great cause. It really is."