Chat w/ 15-year NHL vet and Spring Lake Park-grad David Backes

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The strangest offseason in NHL history was even stranger for Spring Lake Park grad David Backes. After 14 seasons in the NHL, there was some question if the Anaheim Ducks might buy out his contract after acquiring him in a late season trade from Boston last year.

In the end – Backes, his wife and their two young children have moved to Anaheim and he is indeed preparing for his 15th NHL season.

As he looks ahead to the season, Backes has been pitching in to support a holiday charity effort in conjunction with former Wild forward Jason Zucker and his wife Carly.

The "Festival of Trees and Favorite Things Gift Boxes" auction runs through 8pm CT on Sunday, September 6th.

(Click the link to check out the auction)

Items in the auction include mini Christmas trees accompanied by gift items like a Minnesota-themed arrangement featuring Wild forward Zach Parise, a stay-at-home package ron behalf of Vikings tight end Kyle Rudolph, an Italian-themed collection connected to Wild forward Marcus Foligno and others by Wild players Jared Spurgeon, Nick Bjugstad and several other players from around the NHL.

The fundraising effort is gathering donations in support of the Zuckers’ "Give 16" charity as well as the "Athletes for Animals" foundation Backes and his wife founded.

Click the video box on this page to watch David Backes’ one-on-one chat with KSTP Sports’ Chris Long about the outlook for his 15th season in the National Hockey League, the challenges and benefits of the long offseason and his move to Anaheim, and the charity push he hopes hockey fans might consider lending a few dollars to this holiday season

"Athletes for Animals" is a non-profit organization founded by the Backes family and supports a variety of animal welfare initiatives. Donations provide life-saving resources to shelter pets and families in need through community outreach, education, enrichment and retention focused efforts. These imperative funds will help companion animals and their families with supplies.

According to its website, the foundation has raised and granted nearly $782,000 to animal shelters and rescue groups across North America since it was founded in 2013.