Kelly Nichols is out to prove a humble tweet can get big things done.
Serious Jets fan turned amateur charitable venture CEO is looking to send underprivileged kids to Jets games.
Meet the man behind the chants: Nichols is the owner of the @MTSCentreChants Twitter handle, and is now the founder of Chants for Charity, a charitable venture that sells T-shirts with famous pro-Jets chants and gives the proceeds to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg.
A season ticket holder for the Winnipeg Jets, Nichols noticed when he first started attending the games that chants against the other team, or specific players, were hard to spread and hard to understand.
To fix the problem he started @MTSCentreChants, tweeting suggestions for what should be chanted. Suddenly taunting chants like "Crosby’s better," towards Washington Capitals forward Alexander Ovechkin, "Silver medal," at Ryan Miller, goalie for the Buffalo Sabres, and "Let’s go Blue Jays," during games against the Toronto Maple Leafs, spread like wildfire.
"So I sent this tweet out July 26 saying ‘What do you think about getting chants shirts made and donating all the proceeds to charity?’" said Nichols. "For me it was just a wild whim suggestion. You know — thought, tweet, done."
But the response was so overwhelming that Nichols knew he had to do something.
"I thought I might be on to something," said Nichols. "But how do you turn this wild whim of an idea on Twitter and turn it into a reality?"
With a day job as an advisor in information management, Nichols had no idea where to start, so naturally he turned to the Jets. After sorting what the shirts could or could not say due to trademarking, he turned to Google.
"From there it was, OK, what does a T-shirt cost?" said Nichols. "This was nowhere close to what I do, I just created a Twitter account for fun because I’m a Jets season ticket holder and I’m a fan, but this has nothing to do with my job. This one tweet just propelled me into this new project."
After learning how to create the shirts, Nichols had to find the charity.
"I didn’t know what charity, but I did say to send underprivileged kids to Jets games," said Nichols. "Ultimately, the money is going to go to the Sport Connection program at the Boys and Girls Clubs of Winnipeg."
The Sports Connection program provides opportunities for children and youth to play organized sports. Nichols said though the program doesn’t provide a chance for children to go to Jets games, the Boys and Girls Clubs are looking into it.
"The Boys and Girls Clubs are still exploring possible avenues to use some of the funding to purchase Winnipeg Jets tickets," said Nichols. "But also a number of people have stepped forward and donated their tickets… and so far we’ve sent eight kids to Winnipeg Jets pre-season games."
Shirts can be purchased in cash for $20 at Joe Daley’s Sports & Framing (513 St. Mary’s Rd.), Luxalune Gastropub (734 Osborne St.) and Above All Screening & Embroidery (110 King Edward St. E). They can also be found online at the chantsforcharity.com