Over 20 current and former NHL players, along with a handful of current Boston Bruins players, came together for the second annual Corey Griffin Foundation Happy Hour held Monday, August 5, at Coppersmith in Boston. The event honors the life and legacy of Corey Griffin and the enormous impact made by the foundation named in his honor, the Corey C. Griffin Foundation.
Born in Hingham, Mass., Griffin was a local hockey player that developed his game with the Cape Cod Whalers, a team co-founded by his father, Rob Griffin. His collegiate career began not far from his hometown, playing for Boston College in his freshman season. He then transferred to Babson College where he played out his remaining three seasons.
After graduating from Babson, Griffin became tied with philanthropic work. His most notable contribution came from the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, a viral sensation Griffin was an important catalyst behind. He did so in honor of his good friend Pete Frates, who played college baseball at Boston College and, since being diagnosed with ALS in 2012, has become a symbol for the fight against the disease. Before his tragic passing in August 2014, Griffin helped raise over $100,000 for the initiative.
Following his passing, Corey’s family established the Corey C. Griffin Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, grant-making organization that, according to the foundation’s website, “...provides strategic financial support to Boston’s most innovative nonprofits focused on underprivileged youth as well as those with medical challenges.”
Many of the players, as well as a large portion of the 400 attendees either played on the same ice as Corey or were touched by the contributions Corey made in his life. As Griffin’s longtime friend from Hingham, former Boston College star and NHL veteran Brian Boyle pointed out the immense turnout compared to the inaugural event last August, another example of Griffin’s reach and the human being he was. It’s also one of the reasons why Boyle has become one of the backbones of this event and the Foundation.
“Corey’s reach was so long and it still is,” said Boyle. “It’s almost five years since we lost him, and what’s going [in the foundation] right now, with the new faces that have come on, the other people that are willing to be a part of what’s going on, it’s fantastic, it really is.”
Minnesota Wild forward, and Scituate, Mass. native, Ryan Donato knew Griffin from his time with the Cape Cod Whalers. When he arrived to event, he shared that same astonishment as Boyle did at the increased turnout.
“I think when you have that combination of having a good time but also that great group of people that do good work, it’s going to grow big time,” said Donato. “[Corey] was an infectious person and always wanted to make sure everybody was having fun. Just like that, the way that [the Happy Hour] is growing, it’s infectious and everybody really wants to be a part of it.”
Charlie McAvoy never knew Griffin, but it didn’t take long for him at the event to understand the way Corey connected the community – a feat that earned him the nickname “Pied Piper.”
“It’s very, very cool to see,” praised the current Bruins defenseman. “I feel really excited to be here and learn more about the foundation and the things that they get behind and what they do for kids and what they stand for, you can kind of tell what kind of person he was and his family is.”
Just like his teammate McAvoy, Bruins defenseman Matt Grzelcyk didn’t really know Griffin but knew of him and his work through mutual friends in the Boston hockey scene. During the Happy Hour, the Charlestown, Mass. native witnessed first-hand what Corey’s philanthropy means both locally and globally.
“Seeing the amount of support that’s turned out tonight and just getting to interact with all the players and the community in general, it’s pretty touching to see how much he meant to everyone. It’s important, playing in Boston to give back to the community, so it’s nice to be part of the event tonight.”
For more information on the Corey Griffin Foundation, visit the foundation's website.