You might not be cheering him on tonight, but spare a round of applause for Boston Bruins defenceman Andrew Ference.
His uniform may be black and gold but Andrew, 32, is a green champion. In partnership with the David Suzuki Foundation, he led over 500 NHL players in offsetting more than 5,000 tonnes of carbon emissions during the NHLPA Carbon Neutral Challenge in 2008-09. The Challenge offers players a way to buy high-quality carbon credits to offset the CO2 they produce in travelling from game to game. These credits fund sustainable energy projects in developing countries.
Andrew's also gone green in his personal as well as professional life. He walks and bikes where he can, takes transit and prefers organic food. And he's inspired his teammates to do the same, from driving a hybrid to choosing renewable energy.
It might not be a surprise, then, to learn that Andrew and David Suzuki go way back. Like millions of Canadians, Andrew grew up watching The Nature of Things. The pair finally met when he was playing for the Calgary Flames — he says David "kind of gave me a kick in the butt to do a little more publicly." It seems to have paid off! Besides his NHL initiatives, Andrew was a big supporter of the DSF's Play It Cool program, which encouraged pro athletes to inspire Canadians in reducing their carbon footprint.
Whoever comes out on top this series, we can all get behind the green champs!