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Vinnie Hinostroza, Patrick Kane headline game benefitting Special Olympics

Chicago Blackhawks' Vinnie Hinostroza waits for a face-off during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the St. Louis Blues Wednesday, April 4, 2018, in St. Louis. The Blackhawks won 4-3. | Jeff Roberson/Associated Press

Growing up in Bartlett, Vinnie Hinostroza volunteered at the Marklund Home, a nonprofit organization that serves children and adults with serious and profound developmental disabilities.

“[My mom and I] liked to go and spend time with the kids,” Hinostroza said. “Go to Halloween parties with them and just have fun and make them smile.”

That’s why Hinostroza has a “special place close to my heart” for Special Olympics.

Hinostroza and Blackhawks winger Patrick Kane will face off once again at the Chicago Hockey Charity Classic. The second annual charity game, at 5:30 p.m. Saturday at the MB Ice Arena, will showcase star-studded rosters, including Stanley Cup champion Ian Cole and Predators winger Ryan Hartman.

“It would be a shame if we didn’t use our skills and our talents to give back,” said Hinostroza, who the Hawks traded to the Coyotes last month. “Whenever we have an opportunity to give back to a great cause like this, everyone jumps to the opportunity and everyone has a blast with it.

“Last year there was a great showing so I’m sure this year there’s going to be a lot of people, so it’s going to be great.”

So what can one expect?

“Really high-level of hockey played by current and former NHL players plus a pretty good sample of local celebrities,” promised Kevin Magnuson, a member of Special Olympics’ Board of Directors, who will play in Saturday’s game.

Hinostroza parroted Magnuson, and added: “It’s all friendly but there’s definitely going to be a couple of chirps going on.”

Last year, the event sold-out the Fox Valley Ice Arena in Geneva and raised nearly $139,500 for Special Olympics. Magnuson said this year’s event is also expected to sell out, although some 50 tickets remain.

“It’s extremely important for athletes with special needs to have an organization like Special Olympics to help organize and run events for them,” Magnuson said. “It not only gives them a release physically but they get to experience the joys of teamworks, competing and setting goals … We like to think they live happier and healthier lives.”