Vernon Fiddler: Warrior on the Ice, Leader in the Community

Wednesday, 02.27.2013 / 1:29 PM
Greg Fernandez

On the ice, Dallas Stars center Vernon Fiddler is a key cog for the Stars’ line depth, providing energy, intensity and pesky defense every shift.

Off the ice, he’s one of the team’s most active players in the Dallas area, raising money for kids with cancer and welcoming the chance to brighten a child’s day.

Fiddler’s community contributions started in Nashville where he began his career as an undrafted free agent. During his time with the Predators, Fiddler established ‘Fiddler’s Tribe.’ He used the program to reach out to battered families and children who were dealing with the turmoil of cancer and invited them to games.

The inspiration? A person Fiddler still keeps close to his heart after she passed away from leukemia - his sister.

“I have a charity golf tournament in Edmonton also. We host 260 golfers each year and raise $50,000 to $100,000 for kids with cancer,” Fiddler said. “We started that and I decided it was a good time that we start something at the arena where we’re bringing kids from local communities and not just helping out from back where I grew up. Obviously whenever you get traded or signed in free agency you try to carry it over wherever you’re going to go.”

So when the opportunity arose this season where he could form something similar with the Stars, Fiddler and his wife, Chrissy, presented the Dallas Stars Foundation with a check for $30,000 and created ‘Fidd’s Kids.’

“These families don’t ask for what they’ve been given,” Fiddler said. “Any time you can help them out and make their day a little bit happier, that’s what we’re trying to do.”

The Fiddler’s $30,000 donation to the Dallas Stars Foundation guaranteed that up to 80 children and their families would be able to attend each Dallas Stars’ home game; a once and a lifetime opportunity for many of them according to Dallas Stars Foundation Coordinator Christa Melia.

Fiddler was also the team representative last season for Flashes of Hope, an organization that takes professional photos of children with cancer to remind them just how beautiful they are. Fiddler often took photos with the children to showcase their wonderful smiles. Through giving back, Fiddler and his wife hope that their strong morals and characteristics will be instilled in their kids.

“We’ve helped wrap and get gifts for the Ronald McDonald house and take families gifts that are going through a tough time,” Fiddler said. “Doing things like that, the kids are always helping out. We’re trying to teach them the little things, like helping other families when they’re in need. It’s important to give back because you never know what situation you’re going to be in.”

There are a lot of similarities between Fiddler the community volunteer and Fiddler the hockey player. Hardworking, determined and exceptional teammate are some of the characteristics that have been at the forefront of his success this season. He prides himself on playing on a line that nobody wants to play against, but credits the chemistry he’s established with wingers Eric Nystrom and Ryan Garbutt – who he says reminds him of himself when he first entered the league - as big reasons to their line’s success early on.

“We’ve got to play hard,” Fiddler said. “Obviously you’re not going to score every shift but we’ve got to bring something to the table, if it’s hitting or fighting or whatever we have to do. Playing with Nystrom, he’s a guy that’s committed - he’ll do anything to win. He’s not afraid to let other guys know. Garbutt is a little more naïve, he’s just coming into the league but he’s a guy that I actually want to play with because he plays the right way and he plays hard. He’s just one of those guys who puts his nose right in there gets dirty each and every night.”

As the season continues, ‘Fidd’s Kids’ will be present at each home game, giving kids and their families a chance to enjoy the game of hockey and cheer on the player who strives to help them any way he can.

“Anytime we can give back to help out the young children and families that maybe aren’t going through the best time in their life, bring some sunshine to their day, that’s what we’re looking to do,” Fiddler said. “It’s just something that me and my family, my wife and my children, it gives us a lot of enjoyment and we’ll continue it as long as I’m playing.”

Back to top ↑