NHL Player Tkachuk Utilizes NFT To Raise Funds For Charity


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Matthew Tkachuk comes from a famous hockey family. His father Keith was a 50-goal scorer and both Matthew and his brother, Ottawa Senators forward Brady, were first-round selections in the NHL entry draft.

Calgary Flames forward Matthew is also making NHL history off the ice. He’s the first player in league history to introduce a non-fungible token. NFTs are taking the sports world by storm. NFTs are crypto collectibles, which are basically digital pieces of art that exist in the blockchain like cryptocurrency such as bitcoin and ethereum. Teams and players are utilizing NFTs to offer access and a unique connection between them and their fanbase. This can include perks such as discounts on tickets, private tours of team facilities, autographed memorabilia and even meet and greets with players. They can be bought, sold and traded.

Across the sporting world, the blockchain is being embraced. Teams are enabling the purchase of tickets through cryptocurrency. In the world of sports betting, the vast majority of the top online betting sites listed at vegasbetting.com are accepting Bitcoin and other forms of cryptocurrency as methods to fund their accounts.

Tkachuk admitted he was relatively oblivious to the world of the blockchain prior to the issue of his NFT. “Like anyone else, I really had no idea what it was,” Tkachuk told The Athletic. “And I think early on I probably explained it pretty poorly, but as I’ve started to understand it more I think my explanation has gotten better.”

Tkachuk’s digital artwork for his NFT was created by Canadian artist Rob Dubois. The piece featured two images of the Flames forward. In one, he is scoring an overtime goal between the legs goal. The other captured an up-close image of him chewing on his mouthguard.

Entitled Matthew Tkachuk Genesis, the NFT had 16 different bidders and sold for $27,954. As well the NFT, the winning bidder also received a Tkachuk jersey, a signed stick, and a Zoom meeting with the Calgary star.

Charitable Cause

An added element to Tkachuk’s NFT offering was that it was designed to benefit two charities - the Children’s Hospitals of Calgary and St. Louis.

“It was an exciting opportunity and for me to pair it up with a charitable cause as well, it was a no-brainer for me to get involved,” Tkachuk told Sportsnet. “I felt like this was a new way to show digital art and to play a tiny, tiny part in helping to bring in more donations to the hospitals for the great work they do. It’s awesome. It’s the least I can do.”

The cause of helping children’s hospitals was not only dear to Tkachuk’s heart, it’s also a cause his family has always devoted time and resources to over the years.

“I think the St. Louis one has really touched me personally,” Tkachuk said. “My dad was always involved in that when he was playing. My sister was there for a little bit when she was born.

“We just always had it ingrained in us to give back and Children’s Hospital is one that’s been connected to our family for awhile, so when I came to Calgary, I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do.

“At the end of the day, it’s so important for to have a charitable side to it, too. It’s all going to great charities.”

Engaging With The Fans

As much as he loves the game as hockey, Tkachuk is of the belief that the NHL doesn’t do nearly enough to connect the fans with the personalities of individual players. He thinks NFTs are a way to help increase that bond between players and fans.

“The connection with the sport is great,” Tkachuk said. “To me, hockey is the greatest sport in the world and I don’t think we do a good enough job yet of showing off everybody’s personalities and stuff like that.

“This is another step in showing that and I truly feel that with the help of Greg Dubois, it really showed two aspects of my personality on the ice. One part of its me hanging out with the mouthguard out of my mouth and the other part is me loving scoring goals and having a cool celebration.

“I just think it’s another way to show off how great of a sport hockey is.”

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