Exchange Prevails in Microsoft Hockey Challenge, but the Real Winner is the Ronald McDonald House

Exchange Prevails in Microsoft Hockey Challenge, but the Real Winner is the Ronald McDonald House

SEATTLE, Wash., March 21, 2000 — The good-natured rivalry between Microsoft’s Exchange and Windows groups was cranked up several notches on March 19 during the Microsoft Hockey Challenge 2000 at KeyArena in Seattle.

For the second straight year, the Exchange team, whose roster is dotted with former stars at Canadian colleges and high schools, outskated the Windows team, 7-4. More than 3,500 people attended the game, which was open to the public and played prior to a Seattle Thunderbirds’ game against the Tri-City Americans.

But the most important statistic was the $750,000 raised from the event to help build a new Ronald McDonald House near Children’s Hospital in Seattle. The Ronald McDonald House in Seattle provides lodging for families with sick children being treated at the hospital.

“This will be an incredible beginning to our building fund,”
said Pat McDonald, executive director of the Ronald McDonald House in Seattle.
“We’re overwhelmed by the generosity.”

The amount was the largest any of the Ronald McDonald House Charities worldwide has ever raised from a single event, according to Windows team agent Nadine Kano. The money was raised through donations, pledges, and event sponsorships, including key sponsorships by Compaq and Mission Critical Software.

Since 1983, the Ronald McDonald House has served more than 3,500 children and their families. The current facility has 22 rooms, accommodating 22 families, Pat McDonald said. The money raised will help build a new complex with 62 rooms, a project that will cost $7.5 million altogether.

McDonald said she hopes to begin construction of the new facility by early next year in time to open in early 2002. For more information on future fundraising efforts, interested people should contact Julie Delano, development director, at 206-524-6359.

“For all the folks who put in a ton of effort to put on this event, including those who ruined their bodies out here today, it is well worth it,”
said Steve Ballmer, Microsoft president and chief executive officer, who presented a $750,000 check after the game to officials of the Ronald McDonald House.

Last year, about $10,000 was raised for the Ronald McDonald House when the Exchange and Windows teams squared off at Kingsgate Arena in Kirkland. The first-ever hockey game between these two teams was played before mostly fellow employees in a much smaller venue. The Exchange team won that game too, 9-7.

“This year’s game was definitely a higher level of play [than that of a year ago],”
said Exchange General Manager Eric Lockard, the Exchange goalie.

Plans are to add more teams for next year and possibly play a benefit eight-team tournament, said Brian Valentine, senior vice president of the Windows Division, who played goalie for the Windows team.
“That would help us raise more money…It’s all about raising money.”

But Pat McDonald of the Ronald McDonald House said her organization’s relationship with Microsoft goes beyond money. Members of both teams stopped by the Ronald McDonald House on different nights last week, bringing dinner and spending time with the families and their young children, who are being treated for cancer.

In addition, several Exchange team members shaved their heads before the game in a sign of support for children who are undergoing chemotherapy treatments.

This is a relationship based on much more than money,” McDonald said. “The money is what is going to get the job done. But this is humanity — it’s really about heart and soul.”

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