NHL ‘legends’ to visit here

Joey Payeur

Some well-known faces from hockey’s past will take to the ice here this fall on what promises to be a full day of activities and excitement.
The “Slap Shots & Boot Stompin’ Tour,” put on by Legends All-Stars Hockey Events, makes it way to Fort Frances on Thursday, Oct. 19.
“On behalf of the Town of Fort Frances, we’re very pleased that Fort Frances will be hosting this event,” said Community Services manager Jason Kabel.
The main highlight of the visit will be a charity exhibition game that evening at the Ice For Kids Arena between a collection of NHL stars from the past 40 years against a team of local talent.
Coaching the NHL side will be L.A. Kings’ legend Marcel Dionne, the sixth-highest scorer in NHL history with 1,771 points.
After the game, a meet-and-greet “kitchen party” open to the public will take place at the local Legion, with the players to interact with those attending.
Tickets will cost $25 for the game and $20 for the meet-and-greet, with the date and location of the ticket sales still to be determined.
A portion of the proceeds from the game and meet-and-greet will go towards the Fort Frances Minor Hockey Association and the Fort Frances Girls’/Women’s Hockey Association.
“It’s important for us to connect to the young people in the community,” said Legends All-Stars Hockey Events spokesperson Treva Hiltz.
“They’re the future for us.”
Along those lines, the “legends” will host a hockey clinic earlier in the day for young players and also visiting a still-to-be determined local school.
Hiltz said the players will speak to students about the importance of staying in school, respect, anti-bullying and reaching for their goals.
She hinted they also might show up around town where they’re least expected.
“They could end up being down at the local doughnut shop serving coffee,” she chuckled.
“It’s usually a spontaneous thing where they end up going.”
Providing musical entertainment for the meet-and-greet will be multiple-time Canadian Country Music Awards winner Aaron Pritchett along with his son, Jordan, and Nova Scotia country singer Kevin Davison.
Pritchett also will play with the NHL team in the exhibition game.
“Aaron loves being on the ice just as much as he loves doing music,” noted Hiltz.
Meanwhile, the game also will be an opportunity for local adult players to both play with and against a host of well-known stars of bygone seasons.
“I’ve sent an e-mail out to the Sunday night men’s league captains and been in contact with a couple of players who came to me individually,” said Kabel.
“The organizers want this to be a decently-competitive game.”
There are 16 spots (15 skaters and one goalie) available on the local team roster that will cost each player $375 to play on, with $50 of that going towards the FFMHA and FFGWHA.
Also up for grabs are six spots on the “legends” team at a cost of $475 apiece.
Players registering on both sides will receive seven game tickets apiece to distribute to family and friends, as well as two meet-and-greet tickets and a team picture.
Those playing with the “legends” also will get to keep the customized jersey they wear during the game.
“There’s no bodychecking but the odd slapshot is OK,” said Hiltz.
Interested players should contact Kabel in person at the Memorial Sports Centre or via e-mail at jkabel@fortfrances.ca
Along with Dionne, the list of former NHL players making the journey here include:
•Mike Krushelnyski, who won three Stanley Cups playing with the Edmonton Oilers in the 1980s and then a fourth as an assistant coach with the Detroit Red Wings in 1997;
•Cliff Ronning, a longtime Vancouver Canucks’ stalwart;
•Jyrki Lumme, best known for manning the Canucks’ blueline;
•Rick Vaive, the first 50-goal scorer in Toronto Maple Leafs’ history in the 1981-82 season;
•Jocelyn Lemieux, a 10-year NHL veteran and the younger brother of famous Montreal Canadiens’ and Colorado Avalanche “super pest” Claude Lemieux;
•Dave McLlwain, another 10-year player noted for his penalty-killing work with the Toronto Maple Leafs and Winnipeg Jets, among others; and
•Trevor Kidd, who backstopped the Calgary Flames through most of the 1990s.
Also suiting up for the “legends” will be retired Canadian Armed Forces Sgt. Rob Sneath, who competed in 21-straight military national hockey championships.