Chris Snow

Tkachuk billboard Kassian Flames Oilers
via CJAY 92

Fans troll with Tkachuk billboard, charities end up the big winners

3 Comments

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.

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:

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.

Wow.

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 phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.

Flames assistant GM Chris Snow diagnosed with ALS

Chris Snow Calgary Flames
Getty
1 Comment

Calgary Flames assistant general manager Chris Snow has been diagnosed with ALS.

The team announced the news on Wednesday in a letter written by Kelsie Snow, Chris’ wife, detailing the diagnosis and the early treatment that Snow has gone through in an effort to fight the disease.

That treatment has Snow enrolled in a clinical trial “for the most encouraging ALS gene therapy treatment to come along.”

The Snow family has been devastated by ALS over the years, losing his father, two paternal uncles and a cousin to the disease. The drug that is the subject of the clinical trial that Snow is now in targets the specific genetic mutation that has impacted their family.

Kelsie writes that Snow has been enrolled in the trial for several months, and while they do not know if he is on the actual drug or a placebo, the disease does not seem to have progressed since the initial dose with his right hand and forearm being the only impacted parts of his body.

More, from the Flames:

In the simplest terms, this drug works by silencing the effects of the mutated gene, and in Miami we could see how hopeful the doctor felt. So hopeful that when I asked if he believes this drug could stop progression entirely, he said, “We don’t know, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility.”

And so we are leaning into that possibility, as hard as we can, working to stay positive and living with intention every single day. And now we believe we have results to lean into as well.

Chris has been in the trial for several months, and while we do not know whether he is on the actual drug or a placebo, the disease since that initial dose does not seem to have progressed. His right hand and forearm remain the only affected areas of his otherwise strong and healthy body.

Someone has to be the first person to live with ALS rather than die from it, and one thing I’ve always known about Chris is that he finds a way. No matter the obstacle, no matter how unprecedented the situation may be – he always, always finds a way.

You can read the letter in its entirety here, as well as get information on where and how to donate for ALS research.

Snow joined the Flames organization in 2011 as their director of hockey analytics.

He was promoted to assistant general manager in September of this year. Prior to that he was the Minnesota Wild’s hockey analytics expert between the 2006 and 2010 seasons.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.