NHL defenceman Matt Carkner may have left the Ottawa Senators, but he’s still a team player when it comes to his hometown hospital.
For the past two years, Carkner has been the face of the Winchester District Memorial Hospital’s annual Carkinator Car Rally, which has raised nearly $100,000 in its first two years.
Just weeks after the second annual rally wrapped up, he signed a three-year contract with the New York Islanders on July 1.
Leaving the Sens, however, doesn’t mean he’s leaving his commitment to the hospital. Hospital foundation executive director Troy Cross said he fully expects Carkner to continue participating.
“We don’t anticipate any changes. Matt has strong connections to this community and certainly has every intention of continuing his support in this community,” Cross said. He noted that the entire Carkner family has strong connections to the Winchester area, as Carkner’s father owns D’s Collision Centre in the town south of Ottawa.
Cross said it was always known that Carkner could leave the Ottawa area to play for another team, but it was never considered an issue.
“It’s one of the things we had chatted about from the very beginning. We designed the event so that Matt had the flexibility to be in the area in support of the event or to be across North America and still be able to contribute,” Cross said.
They are still working out minor details such as next year’s date.
This year’s car rally raised $40,000, which fell short of last year’s $57,000 total. Cross, however, said the hospital was pleased with the results.
“You can never be disappointed. The community does a great job of supporting. We’re already busy planning for next year,” he said.
As for Carkner’s involvement, “New York’s not that far away,” Cross said.