Berkshire Bank, Bruins put ‘two in the box' for Habitat for Humanity


PITTSFIELD -- Seldom has paying for one's transgressions reaped this kind of lucrative payout for a such a worthy cause.

The Berkshire Bank Foundation, the charitable arm of the county's largest bank, has been donating $200 to Habitat for Humanity whenever the Boston Bruins kill off a penalty during a game that is broadcast on the New England Sports Network. In November, Berkshire Bank became the official bank of Bruins' coverage this season on NESN.

At the end of the regular season, the total amount raised will be calculated then distributed evenly between the 11 Habitat for Humanity chapters located in the bank's coverage area, according to Carolyn Valli, the executive director of Central Berkshire Habitat for Humanity in Pittsfield.

"We expect it to be $50,000," Valli said. "We think our share will be $4,500."

The "Hockey 4 Housing" program only includes Bruins' regular season action broadcast on NESN. The program began in November, but is retroactive to the Bruins' first regular season game, which took place on Oct. 3.

Foundation spokeswoman Lori Gazzillo, who is a hockey fan, said she believed the program has raised about $20,000 for Habitat for Humanity so far this season.

Valli, who knows little about the game of hockey, said the Central Berkshire Chapter is happy for the foundation's support.

"I think it's a wonderful opportunity -- and not just because of the money," Valli said. "It makes (people) think what it's like to have a home.

"This is going to have a high impact on communities because most Habitat for Humanities are not building one home at a time, they're revitalizing entire communities," she said. "These are the resources that make this happen."

Judging by the Bruins' statistics, it appears there will be plenty of opportunities for more funds to come well before the regular season ends on April 13.

Going into Thursday night's game at Dallas, the Bruins had amassed 537 penalty minutes through 46 games, the 11th highest total among the 30 teams in the National Hockey League. The B's rank 21st in the NHL in penalty minutes per game with 11.7.

While the Bruins' total amount of penalty minutes pales in comparison to NHL leader Philadelphia's 758, the team's penalty killing is 12th best in the league at 83.0 percent. Penalty killing refers to the action a team takes to "kill off" an infraction that is ruled against them. The penalized team is left with less players on the ice than their opponents during the duration of a penalty. Minor penalties, the most common form of hockey infraction, last for two minutes.

"Obviously, this is a fun promotion," Gazzillo said. "We were looking for something to provide a grant throughout the season, something that would happen over and over again. Penalties happen all the time."

This is the first year that Berkshire Bank has sponsored Bruins' telecasts on NESN. The agreement includes the placement of commercial spots during before and after Bruins' games televised on NESN, sponsorships of NESN's "Hockey Night in New England" during the regular season and playoffs, and online and digital promotions.

The bank is also sponsoring a "Wicked Suite Hockey Night Contest" in which four families selected from the regions in Berkshire Bank's coverage area will be given an all-access experience to a Bruins' home game.

The contract with NESN is only for this year, but the bank has the opportunity to continue the partnership for another three years, according to Sean Gray, Berkshire's vice president of retail banking.

To reach Tony Dobrowolski:

(413) 496-6224


If you'd like to leave a comment (or a tip or a question) about this story with the editors, please email us. We also welcome letters to the editor for publication; you can do that by filling out our letters form and submitting it to the newsroom.

Powered by Creative Circle Media Solutions