BUFFALO, N.Y. [WKBW] — Buffalo Sabres captain Jack Eichel is helping those on the front lines of the current COVID-19 pandemic.
On Wednesday Eichel announced he will be donating more than 5,000 protective medical shields to area hospitals.
“I am so thankful to all those medical professionals that are on the front lines taking care of our community in the battle against this virus,” Eichel said. “The dedication to Western New York that they continue to show is incredible. I am happy to work with my friends at Bauer to purchase these masks. Hopefully, they will help play a part in keeping our hospital workers safer and healthier.”
Bauer Hockey announced they would start producing protective face visors for medical workers last week. According to the National Post in Canada, Bauer is charging $6 a shield, which is what it costs them to make the piece of protective equipment. The face shield is meant to be worn over a face-mask, to add even more protection for those working in hospitals.
Protection that allows athletes to give everything for their team is our heritage.— BAUER Hockey (@BauerHockey) March 25, 2020
Right now, we're all on the same team. We're repurposing our facilities to make face shields so that medical professionals battling COVID-19 can safely continue to help those most vulnerable. pic.twitter.com/pBiZuUWdVl
Eichel, who is a Bauer sponsored athlete, has a mother who works in healthcare as a nurse in the Boston area. The Sabres captain said earlier this week she's been off for several weeks to assist his father, who is recovering from a surgery.
“We're all on the same team in helping our medical professionals get the necessary protective equipment they need to help in the fight against COVID-19,” said Mary-Kay Messier, VP of Global Marketing, Bauer Hockey. “Nurses, doctors and so many others are risking their own health to save the lives of others. These are the true heroes of coronavirus. Our team was eager to step up and do what we can, just like Jack is stepping up to help his community in Buffalo. We're grateful for this partnership with Jack and the Buffalo Sabres, and we hope others continue to help because we all need to support our families, friends and neighbors right now.”
"In my mind, obviously I love hockey and it means so much to me but right now it's kind of on the back burner," Eichel said in a conference call on Monday. "We really don’t know what tomorrow holds, never mind a month from now so it’s tough to predict the hockey aspect of life."