Long stays in the hospital are about to get a little more fun.
To give patients at University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital a creative outlet and allow them to watch Wild games and sporting events in a private suite atmosphere, the hospital is partnering with Minnesota Wild player Jason Zucker to create the Zucker Family Suite and Broadcast Studio.
Zucker and his wife Carly have pledged $160,000 to jumpstart fundraising for the new space, which will include a state-of-the-art broadcast station and fully outfitted theater.
“I never thought from the first time [I came here] that it would turn into something that it is today,” Zucker said, announcing the studio at the hospital in October. “Carly and I feel very passionately about this hospital and the great work that they do. You can see it from the second you walk through the door.”
The programming produced in the broadcast studio will range from music request hours to game shows and celebrity visits. The dual-purpose space will also allow children and families to view Wild games live in the theater, which will include a ticketed entrance, food and beverage and a large projection screen to simulate the experience of being at a professional hockey game.
Patients and their families will also be able to create and host their own programming—and then instantly watch their own work.
The inspiration for the space is two-fold, Zucker said. In creating the studio, he wanted to blend his career and Carly’s career. She is a local radio and television personality. But the Zuckers also wanted to give hospital patients an outlet for entertainment.
“I was hearing from patients that they weren’t able to attend a game because they were in the hospital. They weren’t able to go see us play their favorite rivals—so we wanted to bring the game to them,” he said. “We wanted to be able to have the kids watch a game and have that game-day experience, but also be able to come down and record their own shows and host segments and have some fun.”
Parents will also be able to use the broadcast studio to record lullabies for their kids, while physicians can create educational programming.
The Zucker family’s initial donation will serve as a launching pad for others in the community to help the fund the new space, which will allow patients take their minds off difficult hospital stays.
In a nod to Jason’s jersey number, the Zuckers are encouraging people to donate to the broadcast studio and family suite in forms of 16—from 16 cents to $16,000—and to get creative. People can donate per game, assist or goal—or something entirely different. In addition, the Zuckers are personally pledging $1,600 every time Jason scores a goal for the Wild.
All of the proceeds from the Zucker’s #GIVE16 campaign this season will go directly to the broadcast studio and suite. The estimated cost of the studio is $500,000 in all.“We just want the fans to get involved and help us support this great cause and support this room and just have fun throughout the entire season,” Zucker said.