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June 24, 1999

Rob Ray


ROB RAY: I'm very honored to be here and accept this award. Usually I come to this and just try to help Dominik carry all his hardware home and make sure he gets home okay. I'm very privileged. I'd like to thank the Sabres organization for giving me an opportunity to play, my teammates for probably the most special year I've ever had in hockey. I just want to thank you all for that. You know, everybody back home in Buffalo, back home that helps with my charities and runs them, it's phenomenal. It's flawless, they do a super job. I thank them very much. There is another man that is a big part of my charity work, Ken Martin, Jr. He helps me out tremendously. He works for the Sabres. He's always there helping. I want to thank him very much. My family, my mother and father and sister and brother-in-law are here tonight. I just want to say thank you. You know, when you get involved with charity work, you don't do it for the trophies, the pats on the back and all that. Seeing a child, a sick child smile, you know, seeing and underprivileged family say thank you, things like that, that's what puts a smile on my face. That's my trophy. That's what I walk away with. And I thank them. I would just like to thank all the people in Buffalo for their help. Back home in Sterling, Ontario, I help you for your help and support. Thanks, guys.

(Press conference)


Q. As good as a winning goal in the Stanley Cup playoffs?

ROB RAY: It is. It's nice to have an opportunity to be in a place, a number of guys said it up on stage, that being involved in the same environment and the same stage with a player such as Wayne Gretzky and all the great players out there. You never dreamt that you'd be put on that same stage and at that same level. You know, that was the greatest thrill probably I've ever had. Obviously winning the Stanley Cup would be No. 1, but this is a very close second.

Q. Can you talk about how you first got involved in it?

ROB RAY: It's something probably eight years ago, early in my career. First thing I actually got involved with was the March of Dimes. They took me because they wanted to make sure that I knew what I was talking about and what the March of Dimes is and it all entailed. I actually went and visited a child that came up, it was the poster child for that year. Met the family, seen what it was all about. I saw the drugs that they create and the work they do, what it actually does. You know, from that point on, it was something that I don't think I could get enough of it I was addicted to it and I want to keep doing it. It was something as a young player, I had a lot of spare time. I'm not married, have a lot of free time in Buffalo, not a lot to do (laughter). If you can put your time to good use, it's constructive. That's the attitude I've taken. I continue to do it.

Q. What is it like to get recognition for something like this? You hear a lot of bad stuff about the athletes, when bad things go wrong.

ROB RAY: Not only for myself, but a lot of other players. There's a lot of players out there that do a lot of great things. I know Michael Peca and Dominik Hasek do tremendous things in Buffalo for the community, a lot of the other players. Throughout the league, there's a lot of guys out there that put a lot of time and effort and money and do a lot of things to make people's lives a lot better. You know, I just think it's unfortunate that people don't hear about that enough compared to the bad things that go on. You know, every time some type of pro athlete gets in trouble for the wrong thing, that's plastered all over the radio and television and papers. I think if you're going to try to put a positive side to sports, I think it's probably time that they start showing this a little more, showing the players out there, what they actually do, try to help the sport instead of trying to put black marks against it.

Q. What is the most rewarding part of this award for you?

ROB RAY: Like I said in my speech, you don't do it to win the trophies. Obviously, that's nice. The part that you do that you enjoy the most is going into a family's home and you walk into a family's home, they don't have heat in their house, they don't have places for the kids to sleep. It's cold in the house. You bring them food. A lot of them don't even have an opportunity or way to cook this food. It's pretty scary. You hear a lot of things and see it on television about Third World countries and everything. Obviously we all know that's a problem. I think there's a much bigger problem in our back yard. I don't think enough people look at that and understand. Obviously right here in Toronto, there's people that are lucky to eat one meal a day, if they're lucky. That's no way for a child to grow up or anything like that. You know, when I can go into a house and give them food and clothing, go to a hospital and see a sick child, put a smile on his face, whether it's a minute, a week or a day, I'm gratified, that's what I want, and that's what I do. That's all I need from it. I don't need anything else.

Q. When you look back on your career, you're not a guy who is going to walk off with the Ross Trophy or the Hart Trophy.

ROB RAY: I still have time (laughter). I'm just practicing.

Q. You're going to be able to put that on your shelf and let that be a symbol of your career. Have you thought about that?

ROB RAY: It's something that will always be there, nobody will be able to take it away from me. Whether you win the Stanley Cup or not, obviously that's the No. 1 goal and everybody's dream to win. This is something that you can say and say this is something you did personally. Obviously, a Stanley Cup is something that you win with another group of guys and as a team. This is something that you can say you did by yourself. You don't want to gloat on yourself. You can look yourself in the mirror, say, "I did the best I could do. If that wasn't enough, so be it. At least I know in my mind I've tried. "

End of FastScripts…

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