On its surface, it had all the makings of a run-of-the-mill publicity event. A successful, major-league hockey team invited local, chronically ill children to a game, and then to a meet-and-greet with the players. All the kids’ favorites were present. The players brought the children and their parents into the locker room for photos and autographs. Then team management gave a speech for the cameras and announced that all proceeds of a friendly match between the team and a nearby rival would go toward a charity benefiting the children’s medical treatment.
On Wednesday, Metallurg Magnitogorsk hosted a contingent of local children suffering from major medical conditions like cancer and cerebral palsy. The children, whose parents work at the factories run by Metallurg’s parent company, MMK, were met by the team’s stars, including Caps draft pick Ilya Samsonov and head-coach Viktor Kozlov.
But this event was not an everyday act of charity. Rather, it was the height of cynicism.