Vancouver mining exec Mario Vetro is going all out for Hockey Helps the Homeless

In his rookie year, Vetro paced the Vancouver team in fundraising dollars

Mario Vetro is hoping to avoid any sophomore slumps. The co-founder of K92 Mining and principal at Commodity Partners joined the local branch of Hockey Helps the Homeless last year and ended up dethroning the 12-year fundraising leader. The Vancouver offshoot, which annually leads the 15 Canadian communities in fundraising, is back at it this year with hopes of raising $650,000 for 13 local charities.

The Vancouver tournament takes place November 24 at UBC’s Thunderbird Arena and will feature a litany of former pros like Brian Skrudland, PJ Stock, Dave Babych and Jannik Hansen.

Vetro is hoping to lead the fundraising charge again. “Guys get pretty competitive, there’s people from all walks of life—different sorts of businesses and industries,” he says. “And there’s a competitive nature amongst fundraisers.”

Vetro is set to play for the Farris LLP team, which is currently pacing all the other teams in the tournament by a healthy margin. “I take the view that, if we’ve done any business together at all, you’re getting a call from me,” Vetro says when asked about his fundraising style. “At Commodity Partners, we raise money for companies. Whether you do that for a company or a charity, it’s the same skillset and process. When you talk with high conviction, confidence and enthusiasm, people want to buy into what you’re doing and support it.”

But so far, Vetro is finding this year’s competition tough. He’s in fourth place in terms of total funds raised with just over $13,000 raised. That’s a far cry from fellow Farris LLP team member Gord Keep, who has managed to stack up over $36,000.

“I’ll let the other people feel good for awhile before I blow them out of the water,” he says with a laugh.

It’s a personal journey for Vetro, who was born and raised in Vancouver and grew up playing hockey despite not being raised by a wealthy family “Registration back then was $300-to-$500 a year, plus all the other expenses,” he recalls. “My parents couldn’t afford that, but I still played every year. I thought there was some sort of grant or donation or something. I found out later that it was a priest at my church who paid for me to play. That instilled in me the importance of giving back when you can.”