Sports stars often get a bad rap. They make a lot of money playing a game. Get injured or benched. Land in scandals. And then retire young.

Stu Siegel, the former CEO and owner of the NHL Florida Panthers and current CEO of HockeyTech in Waterloo, likely has a tome of dark stories he could share.

But when you get Siegel talking about sports, specifically hockey, he lights up. He has the utmost respect for the sport, the players and the culture.

“The hockey community really cares,” Siegel said.

HockeyTech is a new kid in town. It is a conglomerate of hockey-related technologies, analytics and information services that Siegel built through a series of acquisitions after he sold his share of the Florida Panthers. HockeyTech brands include RinkNetISS HockeyFASTHockeyLeagueStat, and NEXT Testing.

HockeyTech moved its main Canadian operations from Guelph to Waterloo in June 2015 (it also has Massachusetts and Florida locations) to be closer to the University of Waterloo. Since it opened its doors on Columbia Street West, HockeyTech has been looking for opportunities to become part of the greater community.

When Siegel learned about Hockey Helps the Homeless, he knew HockeyTech needed to participate.

Hockey Helps the Homeless is a charity that runs hockey tournaments across Canada to raise money and awareness for the homeless. The city-based tournaments pair up retired hockey greats and Olympians with average Joes.

Siegel has put together a team of HockeyTech staff to participate in the Kitchener-Waterloo tournament this Oct. 30 at RIM Park,2001 University Ave. E., Waterloo.

This is the tournament’s second year in Waterloo, and HockeyTech’s first year participating.

Choosing to have his company participate in Hockey Helps the Homeless was a no-brainer for Siegel, who grew up in New York State and has played hockey all his life. At work, he encourages his team to be both physically active and involved in their community.

“I like to be a great corporate citizen and have an opportunity to back something hockey-related and philanthropic. “

Players need to fundraise a minimum of $350 each before game day. Donations are also accepted from spectactors at the games. The tournament is free for the public to attend, and games run all day in men’s and women’s tournaments.

Hockey Helps the Homeless has been running since 1996 across Canada, and has raised more than $9 million. In Waterloo Region, proceeds will go to: YWCA K-W, House of Friendship, Lutherwood, Homelessness and Housing Umbrella Group, and oneROOF.

Siegel hopes the community comes out to watch his team play.

“[The tournament] is a benefit for the community, but we really want to be a part of it,” he said.

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The start of October heralds Thanksgiving and Oktoberfest season: lots of food, drinks and celebration. October is also a great time to get out and connect with others before the snowflakes fly. I see and hear that… the Art District Gallery at 310 King St. E., Unit 201 in Kitchener is hosting visitors this Saturday, Oct. 3 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Grab a map and discover the Downtown Studio Tour and Sale. This is your chance to get into the studios of local artists like James Nye, Alison Lucy and Pamela Rojas… This Monday, Oct. 5 you can get a peek into Canadian Tire Innovations Garage at 417 King St. W. at Francis Street in Kitchener as part of the HackerNest Kitchener-Waterloo October Tech Social. Enter off Francis Street for some drinks and networking. The donations-only event starts at 8 p.m. . The Princess Cinema (6 Princess St. W., Waterloo) is screening Steve Jobs: The Man in the Machine for three shows on Oct. 6-8 at 9 p.m. Starring Ashton Kutcher, the movie explores the life and inventions of Steve Jobs. Tickets are $12 and can be bought starting 30 minutes before showtime.

Photo: HockeyTech enabled ice rink at the University of Waterloo