Wideman Hopes New Program Makes Immediate Impact
Gulls defenseman launched charity ticket program for local military communityOct 30, 2019
By AJ Manderichio/SanDiegoGulls.com
Spend a day in San Diego, and you’ll immediately feel the impact of its robust military population.
Navy Village features battleships and live diving demonstrations, while planes take off and land from the Naval Air Station just across the water. Further north lies the wide expanse of Camp Pendleton, housing one of the largest Marine bases in the United States. These daily scenes made an immediate impact on Gulls defenseman Chris Wideman.
“I’ve just been serenaded all day and night by helicopters and fighter jets,” he said. “It’s definitely neat to see, and something I’m just excited to be a part of.”
Looking to get involved with this community, Wideman and the organization launched Wideman’s Warriors, a charity ticket program benefitting military families in the San Diego region. The program will donate a minimum of four tickets to every Gulls home game at Pechanga Arena San Diego to families supported by the Armed Services YMCA and the Wounded Warrior Project.
“Having the opportunity to play in the states for the first time in a long time, and obviously a big military community in San Diego,” he explained. “With the platform I’ve been given and being on this team and this community, it’s the right thing to do and I feel good about it.”
In addition to the ticket program, Wideman will participate in the Armed Services YMCA’s Operation Hero, a no-cost afterschool program tailored to the unique struggles of military children designed to help military kids get back on track in home and in school.
The Gulls – and its parent club, the Anaheim Ducks – stress the importance of giving back to the community. The Gulls strive to commit to the local community, providing in-kind donations, charity tickets, recreational and educational programs and the dedicated involvement of players, coaches, broadcasters, staff and mascot. The Gulls Foundation facilitates and supports programs that produce positive change for both children and families throughout the San Diego community by providing educational opportunities, broadening access to the sport of hockey and addressing the health and wellness needs of our community.
The Ducks – and their charitable arm, the Anaheim Ducks Foundation - are two-time finalists for Sports Humanitarian Team of the Year Award.
This established support system made it easier for Wideman to launch his own program.
“When I decided to get something going, the organization was great and super helpful,” he said. “It’s probably the best I’ve seen in my career. I’m super thankful for that. I’m looking forward to raising a lot of money this season and having a big impact in the community”
The Gulls defenseman already sees the benefit of the program. His first group attended the Friday, October 25 game against the Ontario Reign, with the opportunity to spend some time with Wideman following the game.
Remembering the meeting put a smile on the St. Louis, Mo native’s face.
“It went well. Obviously not the result we wanted on the ice, but the group that came down after was very appreciative of the tickets and the chance to come to the game,” he said. “We had a nice little chat and that’s what it’s all about – having the opportunity to impact people’s lives and put a smile on their face.”
Fans can support the program and donate to Wideman's Warriors at SanDiegoGulls.com/WidemansWarriors.