04/10/2015 9:02 AM
The Brampton Beast are proud to announce that Cal Wild has been selected by the league as the recipient of the 2014-15 ECHL Community Service Award.
Each ECHL team was given the opportunity to nominate a player for their efforts in community and charitable causes during the 2014-15 season. The nominations were voted on by League Office personnel, with the Beast’s nomination included below. The recognition comes one season after WIld won the Central Hockey League's Man of the Year Award.
Cal Wild - 2014-15 ECHL Community Service Award Winner
Brampton Beast captain Cal Wild has always been a leader on the ice, and yet it is often the work Wild does miles from the arena that separates him from his hockey peers.
Not that he would call it work.
For the second straight season, Wild has been a force in the local community, supporting a number of initiatives with his time, his money and his passion in making a very real difference in the lives of hundreds of children, fans and families.
Building off of last year’s campaign, which saw the hardworking centreman recognized as the Central Hockey League’s ‘Man of the Year’, Cal took on even more responsibility this season in bringing his charity, the Cal’s Pals Foundation, to new heights.
After a successful inaugural year that saw Cal work closely with the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Peel, Cal decided to expand the initiative to partner with a different local foundation each month in order to promote awareness and raise funds for specific causes in the surrounding community.
Cal chose to support Kerry’s Place Autism Services to start the season, Canada's largest service provider for children, youth and adults with Autism Spectrum Disorder, which serves more than 8,000 people with ASD and their families each year.
“I have never met a person who gives so much back to a community and asks nothing in return,” said Chris Bridges, an autism support associate who has worked closely with Cal since he first became involved with the organization. “The amount of hours, amount of people and the complete love of Brampton is beyond what I can measure. When Cal comes out to events you know he isn’t there because he feels he needed to be, but because he truly wants to and because he cares about his community.”
In addition to a personal donation for every goal and assist he scores, which comes straight from the Beast captain’s own pocket, Cal has also been actively involved in getting the support of fans, local businesses and even some of his teammates to join in his pledge. In total, Cal has personally raised over $3,200 this season, which has gone to support the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in November, the Children’s Wish Foundation in December, Peel Regional Schools and the Literacy Month initiative in January, and the Wellspring Chinguacousy Cancer Support Centre in February.
This month, Cal reached out to the Peel chapter of Special Olympics Ontario to connect with other Canadian athletes and support them both emotionally and financially in realizing their dreams of competing on a world stage and representing their country on an international level.
But while the monetary contributions are certainly important and much appreciated, they pale in comparison to the interpersonal connections and individual lives that Cal has touched during his charitable work and community outreach.
From purchasing tickets himself to be donated to underprivileged children attending their first pro hockey game, to bringing families up to the executive suites to watch in comfort and style, Cal has been committed to ensuring that every interaction he has with the local community is a positive, lasting experience.
One such life that Cal has personally impacted is Mike from Kerry’s Place. Cal first met Mike last summer during the KP Summer BBQ, instantly connecting with the youngster and inviting him out to see the Beast during the season. In the months since, the two have continued to develop a more and more personal connection, with Mike becoming one of Cal’s biggest supporters throughout the course of the season, and the two regularly spending time together before and after Beast games.
Last month, Cal asked if he could do an event with the organization, including a tour, dinner and board game night at the Powerade Centre with an adult social group from Kerry’s Place.
“Cal truly showed his character as not one person was left out of a conversation and he moved seats to make sure every individual felt special that night,” said Bridges. “For a group of individuals who are often ‘outsiders’, they were given all the attention in the world and it will have more of an impact in their lives then we will ever know.”
As the season winds down and Cal gears up for an offseason filled with hundreds of local events, appearances and visits, the Beast captain will continue to look for new and substantial ways to get involved in the community and expand the scope, reach and impact of his Cal’s Pals Foundation.