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Not all of our jackets are blue: NHL players dress for charity

Courtesy of Columbus Blue Jackets

Hockey players are typically dressed in jerseys, pads and helmets when they step onto the ice at Nationwide Arena. On Thursday night, however, they will be stepping onto center ice dressed in the latest formal and spring fashions.

The fifth annual “Black Tie Blue Jackets Style Show” will take place in Nationwide Arena for the first time this year as players, their significant others and several special models show off the latest styles to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer.

There will be 13 players and one assistant coach modeling from the team. There will also be 11 pediatric patients modeling in the show, said Kellie Yoskovich, community and foundation development manager for the Blue Jackets.

“Typically there are between 10 and 12 patients who model in the show every year,” she said. “They are nominated by beneficiaries and they all come from (Nationwide) Children’s Hospital.”

And while many of the players have either a wife or girlfriend modeling in the show, some of the single players are participating as well.

“If they want to participate they are still included in the show,” Yoskovich said.

The style show is put on by the Columbus Blue Jackets Foundation and will benefit its “Hats for Heroes” program, according to a press release for the event.

“Hats for Heroes” began as a program to sell signature Blue Jackets hats to raise money for pediatric cancer. Its mission is to raise money for research and patients that the disease affects, according to the foundation website.   

Pediatric cancer is just one of the four focuses of the foundation, Yoskovich said. Others include education, children’s health and safety and the development of youth and amateur hockey.

What began as a small fashion show at Saks Fifth Avenue five years ago has grown considerably in size over the years, with Nationwide Arena being its third venue location.

“After two years at Saks, the show had grown so big that it moved to the Hilton at Polaris,” Yoskovich said. “And this is the first year that it will be at Nationwide Arena.”

The fundraiser is more than a fashion show. Patrons who buy tickets to the event will be able to partake in a pre-event reception, which includes a meet-and-greet with players and models, a sit-down dinner and an auction prior to the show.

“It’s all for a great cause,” said Steve Mason, goalie for the Blue Jackets and one of the models in the show. “It gives us the chance to get personal with the people in attendance.”

The models will all be wearing two types of fashions, said Carla Smith Jones, marketing director for Saks Fifth Avenue.

“The first look will be spring wear,” she said, “and the second will be an ultra formal look.”

Mason was a little nervous about the styles.

“I had some pretty crazy ones last year,” he said. “Hopefully it will be a little more tame this year.”

He said his most memorable look from last year was a shirt with floral print on the cuffs and collar. Not something one would typically picture a hockey player wearing on a day-to-day basis.

“It’s not my deal,” Mason said in regards to the fashion, “but this is for a great cause. It’s not every day you get to spend time with these sick kids and make them smile.”

Members of the team each have their own special charitable causes, but this is the one they all come together on to support, he said.

This year the foundation is hoping to raise more than $100,000 for pediatric cancer, Yoskovich said.

The “Black Tie Blue Jackets Style Show” event is scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m.

Dress code for the evening is after-five attire. This means formal business-wear or cocktail attire, according to the foundation website. But patrons should also remember to dress warmly, since the main event is taking place on center ice.

Tickets for the dinner and show package start at $250, but this year they are also offering “show-only” tickets for $100. The “show-only” tickets get patrons seats at the show and access to a pre-show reception in the Time Warner Cable Lounge and free parking.

“It’s a really special event,” Mason said. “And all of the proceeds go to a great cause.”


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