An impressive squad of Hockey Hall of Famers and multiple Stanley Cup winners entered the Pembroke Memorial Centre last Saturday night to take on the Pembroke Law Enforcement All-Stars.
After a few years playing in Petawawa, the NHL Alumni Tour returned to the PMC with an evening of old-style hockey, nostalgia and on-ice shenanigans. An enthusiastic crowd rose up to cheer as these hockey greats from days gone by skated out to centre ice to meet their law enforcement opponents, a joint team of members from the Ontario Provincial Police Upper Ottawa Valley and Pembroke detachments.
The event raised some $1,100 for the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Torch Run. While Special Olympics remains the world's largest sports organization for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, it can be a costly venture. The average cost to send one athlete to a provincial-level game is $350. That cost soars to $1,000 at the national level.
“It's a charity that is near and dear to us as police officers,” said Constable Shawn Peever. “There are costs for training equipment, travel, food and it's not free. So we want to make sure we support our Special Olympic athletes.”
“They've always been great to pair up with us,” said Kim Stacey, Pembroke Special Olympics community co-ordinator, who thanked both the NHL Alumni and the OPP for their support.
This year's alumni squad featured a returning Rick Vaive, the first 50-goal scorer in Toronto Maple Leafs history, two-time 40-goal scorer and Stanley Cup champion Mark Napier, and Bryan Muir, who won the most coveted prize in professional sports with the Colorado Avalanche. Rounding out the team Mike Krushelnyski, who hoisted Lord Stanley’s cup three times with the Edmonton Oilers, defenceman Gordon Jay Wells, who won the 1994 Cup with the New York Rangers, Brent Gretzky, who played with the Tampa Bay Lightning, Owen Nolan, who played for San Jose, Toronto and Minnesota and was a member of Canada's 2002 Olympic hockey team, Bruce Shoebottom, an enforcer with the Boston Bruins, and Matthew Barnaby, who most notably played with the Buffalo Sabres, Pittsburgh Penguins and Tampa Bay Lightning.
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