Matthew Tkachuk‘s trolling made a great impact, and not just by earning the Flames a power play. Thanks to enterprising Flames and Oilers fans, a drive to put up a Tkachuk billboard in Edmonton morphed into something much more, raising a ton of money – more than $50K overall, it seems – for charitable causes.
It’s the sort of thing that might even make Zack Kassian smile.
[Catch up on the feud: Kassian threatens Tkachuk after suspension; witness the carnage]
This began with a modest Tkachuk billboard meant to gently torment
The ball really got (t)rolling when Mohamed Elsaghir (self-proclaimed “second most-hated man in Edmonton after Matthew Tkachuk) started a GoFundMe drive to put up Tkachuk billboards to torment Oilers fans.
😂😂😂😂 FLAMES FANS LETS MAKE THIS HAPPEN!!
I'm raising money for Matthew Tkachuk Billboards.
Click to Donate https://t.co/8xbKnetGaQ
— -M (@Moe_Saghir) January 13, 2020
CTV’s Glenn Campbell chronicles how that amusing idea morphed into something much bigger. Not only are Tkachuk billboards going up, but the process looks like it will raise at least $20K for ALS research.
The viral sensation drew the attention of Calgary radio station CJAY 92, which is owned by Bell Media. That connection made the billboards happen, and oh are the designs ever glorious:
Look for these in Edmonton SOON!
The battle of Alberta is on!
– @jessemodz and @JDfromCJAY #JesseAndJD #CJAY92 #ChuckyBillboard
CC: @Moe_Saghir pic.twitter.com/DqB7MxBKLs
— CJAY 92 (@CJAY92) January 17, 2020
With the billboards taken care of by CJAY 92/Bell Media, Elsaghir instead shifted the focus of that $10K donation drive to combating ALS. Elsaghir noted that proceeds will be donated to Snowy Strong for ALS in honor of Flames assistant GM Chris Snow’s battle with the disease. To make it even better, entrepreneur W. Brett Wilson pledged to match that $10K, pushing the money raised to $20K and counting.
Oh, and even that doesn’t cover the extent of the money raised by the raised ire between Tkachuk and Kassian.
Oilers fans get into the charitable, trolling spirit, too
Edmonton resident Samantha Costa made about a $25 donation to Calgary charity Brown Bagging It “in honor of Kassian.” That charity seeks to serve needy children with lunches. With that in mind, Costa ended her tweet with a nice barb: “I chose @BrownBaggingIt so that kids can get a proper meal and grow up to be tougher than Tkachuk.”
Well, Costa’s tweet went viral, too.
To make this all more delightful, Brown Bagging It has been sharing updates that indicate this side of “The Charitable Battle of Alberta” will be competitive, too.
What a journey so far – 556 donations, and we’ve raised a total of $37,069!!!! This includes the amounts from @atbfinancial and @WBrettWilson and, most importantly, every single dollar that has been donated by people just like you (yes, you).
Thank you 😭🙏🙌. @SamInYEG
— BB4CK-Brown Bagging (@BrownBaggingIt) January 17, 2020
Flames and Oilers meet again soon, and will get to see the Tkachuk billboard
Other NHL trash-talkers need to step their games up now, to be frank. Brad Marchand needs to lick this one now, is what I’m saying.
The Tkachuk billboard notes that the Flames – Oilers “the friendship tour” continues in Edmonton on Jan. 29. After that, the two teams meet in Calgary on Feb. 1. They also close out the regular season in Calgary on April 4.
Kassian vs. Tkachuk Part II already ranked as must-watch hockey, and a potential mess for the NHL. Following this inspiring charitable drive, it’s even more exciting. Honestly, “The Battle of Alberta” just keeps piling on reasons to cross our fingers for a playoff series.
James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.