David and Kelly Backes

It’s not just any couple that spends their five-year wedding anniversary celebrating at Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. However, David and Kelly Backes aren't just any couple. David is the right winger of the Boston Bruins NHL hockey team and member of the 2010 and 2014 Winter Olympics USA hockey team. In 2013 the couple founded Athletes for Animals, an organization of professional athletes who share a passion for helping homeless animals.

With a Rottweiler and two pit bull terriers in their family, David and Kelly publicly speak out against breed discriminatory legislation including supporting Best Friends’ efforts to pass Winston’s Law in Missouri.  Kelly was also a special guest at a Best Friends St. Louis screening of the documentary, “Guilty ‘Til Proven Innocent.” The film is an eye-opening look at the negative impact of breed specific legislation.

“Animals have always been an integral part of our lives,” says David. “It wasn’t until my career in the NHL with the St. Louis Blues that I realized the importance of advocacy and education when it comes to making a change in the lives of those we care so deeply about. Now with over 500 games in the NHL and two Olympic appearances, we have founded a charity to unite other athletes with a passion for rescuing and helping animals. My wife Kelly and I share our home with six rescued animal companions, four dogs and two cats, all with incredibly unique backgrounds but undeniably capable of giving and receiving unconditional love. For the past decade we have been able to join forces with many incredible animal organizations, and most recently visited Best Friends Animal Sanctuary in Kanab. We were amazed at the incredible work being done and are proud to be supporters of an organization that is paving the way to better the lives of humans and animals. We believe the difference we can make when we collaborate is limitless; we have the power to educate people everywhere and positively change the lives of animals.”