Buffalo Bandits forward Dhane Smith will donate $500 to the families of victims of the racist mass shooting on Buffalo’s East Side, he announced Sunday on Twitter.
Smith pledged to donate $50 for every goal scored by the Bandits in Game 2 of their East Conference Finals series against Toronto on Saturday. The Bandits won 10-9 behind a six-point performance from Smith, who had two goals and four assists.
The donation will exceed $15,000 thanks to others who matched Smith’s pledge. The Toronto Rock contributed $2,500, according to Smith.
Words can’t describe how this week has been. I want to start by saying thank you @NickRose66 & @TorontoRockLax for one hell of a series, but most importantly supporting the great city of Buffalo by donating $2,500. Class act organization.
— Dhane Smith (@dhanesmith92) May 22, 2022
The Bandits opened their series with the Rock on May 23, one day after a white supremacist killed 10 people at the Tops grocery market on Jefferson Ave. Smith, who is Black, delivered a pregame speech in which he addressed his own experiences with racism in a predominantly white sport.
Smith and nine teammates volunteered on the East Side last Wednesday alongside members of the Buffalo Bills and Sabres.
“[The attack] really hit home for me, it being in Buffalo,” Smith, who is from Kitchener, Ontario, said. “This is my second home now. I’m building a home in Buffalo.
“… And also, being a Black athlete, especially in a primarily white sport, it’s tough. My teammates feel bad for me. Yes, it’s tough on myself, but I feel bad for the next generation, for those kids that are growing up and not understanding why they’re getting treated differently. When I do have kids, I don’t want them to go through what I’m going through.”
The Bandits set up a resource page for individuals who are interested in supporting the community at this difficult time. Visit Bandits.com/HelpBuffalo for more information.
Fans can also help by giving $25 and receive a Bandits branded “Choose Love” T-shirt.
We can always count on the city of good neighbors to come together.
— Buffalo Bandits (@NLLBandits) May 21, 2022
A Bandits equipment auction, which includes Smith’s game-used stick, gloves, and sneakers, is currently live with proceeds to benefit victims’ families.