By Amy Tennery
(Reuters) – With a 15-year career making clutch saves as the legendary goalie for the New York Rangers, Mike Richter knows the importance of keeping your cool.
It stands to reason, then, that the 53-year-old Hall of Famer, who won the Stanley Cup title in 1994, has found a welcome second act in combating climate change.
“It’s always been of interest to me, for many, many reasons,” said Richter. “One is just practical: We have limited resources and more people each year.”
Richter preaches the principles of efficiency and performance that he says extend from the rink to the boardroom, helping finance “off the shelf technologies” in renewable energy that face a “capital hurdle” as president of BrightCore Energy.
As ambassador at Saturday’s Rivalry on Ice Harvard-Yale hockey game at Madison Square Garden, Richter will also lace up for “The Last Game,” an exhibition played during the first intermission that aims to raise awareness for climate change.
To him, the connection between sports and conservation is inextricably linked.
“When you look at climate change and other environmental problems, it affects every aspect of our life: From our drinking water to whether the ponds freeze in December or January,” said Richter.
“It can be big things like, people on the coast having to move, and Bangladesh and climate refugees or it can be small things like, ‘Geez, we don’t play outdoor hockey anymore.’
“You can say that’s trivial, but I think it’s important to remember that nobody is getting out of these realities – these scientific realities – unscathed.”
While the three-time Olympian concedes the world of pro sports can improve upon its own carbon footprint, he argues that the impact of climate change on winter sports could draw greater attention to its broader toll.
“We’re going to run out of venues for winter Olympics where they are currently are housed because it just doesn’t get cold enough, consistently enough, due to climate change,” Richter added.
“These things can be tremendously moving and important metaphors for some of the solutions we need to enact.”
(Reporting by Amy Tennery; Editing by Clarence Fernandez)