Some members of the Vegas Golden Knights endeared themselves to a large number of homeless and poverty-stricken Edmontonians on Wednesday when they arranged for pizza to be delivered to them outside the NHL’s bubble in Alberta’s capital.
“I think the Vegas Golden Knights gained a few fans today,” said Elliott Tanti, the communications and development manager with Boyle Street Community Services.
The Boyle Street organization provides services to vulnerable people in Edmonton’s downtown core, and even in their bubble, it would be hard for NHL players and staff not to notice the very marginalized community just outside their accommodations.
“It was heartening to see that someone in the bubble wanted to help out and feed our community.”
Tanti said those responsible for the delivery wanted to remain anonymous but said he could disclose that those who paid for the meals were “a couple of guys from the Vegas team.”
“I got a call yesterday from an individual with the team who had mentioned that he’d noticed the people in front of our building and he asked if it would be appropriate… if the team could send down some pizza to the group,” he said. “The call was later in the day and our building was shutting and we just didn’t have the staff to do that. So he asked if he could do it today instead.
“I said, ‘Of course.'”
Tanti said he spent some time on the phone to work out the details and then at noon on Wednesday, dozens of people got to grab slices of pizza delivered from the JW Marriott hotel.
“People were very happy,” he said, noting that while the organization works to provide people with filling and healthy meals, “a couple of slices of pizza is a luxury that they often don’t get to enjoy.
“That’s a gesture that’s quite special.”
Tanti added that the gesture was particularly appreciated as it has been a very difficult time for everyone as of late with the ongoing pandemic.
When asked how the NHL bubble has been perceived by many of the homeless Edmontonians immediately outside of it, Tanti said he believes that overall, the changes brought to downtown Edmonton because of the NHL bubble have been “managed well.”
However, he added that it may be too soon to fully understand what effect the bubble has.
“We don’t know the effects right away,” Tanti said. “We’ve always said any time there’s less public space… that has a pretty substantial impact on our community.
“However, the impact of that has already been felt because of COVID(-19).”
Tanti said people who want to help those in the community can click on the Boyle Street website.
“The Vegas Golden Knights have come here and matched the generosity that we see regularly from Edmontonians, and that is heartening,” he added.