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Coyotes’ Ekman-Larsson donates $125K to Boys and Girls Club

(Twitter Photo/@ArizonaCoyotes)

Oliver Ekman-Larsson renewed his commitment to Arizona by signing a contract extension with the Coyotes on July 1. On Wednesday, he underscored the depth of that commitment by donating $125,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Scottsdale.

“They do a really good job of making a difference in kids’ lives,” Ekman-Larsson said after a ceremony at Laguna Elementary School in Scottsdale. “As a guy, and as an organization, that’s something we want to do, too, is make a difference in Arizona.

“There is so much good stuff this organization is doing, reaching out to people, whether it’s food for hungry people, helping homeless people or helping kids. I’m just really proud to be part of the Coyotes.”

Ekman-Larsson said he chose to donate to the Scottsdale chapter because that is where he lives. He has been active with the Boys and Girls Clubs for the past few seasons, including multiple appearances.

“I take a lot of pride in it and it’s something I plan to do more of,” he said. “I’ve always tried to be a guy who thinks about other people more than I think of myself. If I can spend 10 minutes, an hour or two hours to help kids who have a tough life or they are having a tough time in life, I’m more than happy to help them out.”

Ekman-Larsson signed an eight-year, $66 million extension with the Coyotes on July 1 that kicks in after the 2018-19 season and will keep him under contract with Arizona through the 2026-27 season. Before he agreed to the extension on June 11, there had been rampant speculation that he might forego the extension to force a trade or reach unrestricted free agency on July 1, 2019, despite his repeated insistence that his desire was to remain with the Coyotes.

“I love living in Arizona and I love playing for the Coyotes so it was a no-brainer for me,” Ekman-Larsson said July 1. “I didn’t really think about leaving or going anywhere else, to be honest with you, but it’s nice to get an end to people asking me if I would stay or go somewhere else. I’ve been focused on staying in Arizona. That’s where I want to play. I think we have something good coming.”

Ekman-Larsson could have made more money elsewhere, but he said the thought never entered his mind.

“It’s just money,” he said. “It’s not going to make you happier if you go somewhere else and make more. My heart is in Arizona and that’s why I stayed.”

Ekman-Larsson is in town with his brother, Kevin, and father, Patric, for about a week before heading back to Sweden for the rest of the summer. He will return to Arizona in September for the start of training camp.

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