RALEIGH — Hurricanes winger Andrei Svechnikov can’t wait to get back on the ice and resume the 2019-20 NHL season, but he knows the months-long coronavirus pandemic has impacted others as well.
That led the 20-year-old to make a supply donation to the Boys & Girls Club serving Wake County, providing the organization with 2,500 disposable masks and 25 5.25-gallon containers of hand sanitizer to the organization. The supplies will be used in the organization’s food pantry, for food donations and supply deliveries to members’ homes, as well as for planned the reopening of its facilities next month.
“Yeah, it’s a being very difficult time,” Svechnikov said Wednesday during the announcement of the donation at “The Club” Teen Center on Raleigh Boulevard. “I just want to help people.”
Svechnikov was joined by Ralph Capps, CEO and president of the Boys & Girls Club serving Wake County.
“Obviously, as we’re preparing and excited about getting open again, these supplies are just going to really meet an awful lot,” Capps said. Capps said he hopes the clubs can reopen to members — “The Club” serves high school-aged teenagers who pay an annual membership fee of $7.50 — in early July.
The organization has about 5,000 members at its seven clubs in Wake County, Capps said. While the clubs have been closed due to COVID-19, the organization has continued to make and deliver meals and supplies to communities in food deserts to ensure kids are getting a good meal each day.
“COVID-19 has really impacted our programs,” Capps said. “The middle of March, like most youth programs, we had to close, but we didn’t stop providing services.”
Svechnikov’s older brother Evgeny, a prospect for the Detroit Red Wings, also came and toured the facility. He had similarly made a charitable donation previously during the pandemic, providing supplies to police. The younger Svechnikov said Evgeny has been in Raleigh the past couple of months during the lockdown and the two have been keeping each other company and working out.
“We are trying to work out at our place, got some Peloton bikes,” Andrei said. “Trying to compete and that’s pretty much it.”
The duo has also taken up fishing, and Andrei said they have traveled out to the famed Big Rock off the North Carolina coast to catch mahi-mahi — though he admittedly still hasn’t figured out how to cook the prized gamefish.
While Evgeny won’t be playing again this season — he spent the majority of the season with the Detroit’s top affiliate in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and the AHL season has been canceled, while the Red Wings are one of seven teams not competing in the NHL’s planned return — Andrei and the Hurricanes are poised to face the New York Rangers in a five-game play-in series once the NHL resumes play.
The Hurricanes have not yet been able to resume skating, but Svechnikov said he should be able to get back to top form relatively quickly.
“I would say, like a 100%, it’s going to take maybe a month to get in shape like you’re playing in the season,” he said.