By Chris Jones/The Oshawa Express
NHL and Oshawa Sports Hall of Famer Eric Lindros and Easter Seals are teaming up to raise $250,000 through the Eric Lindros Celebrity Hockey Classic.
The Classic consists of 18 teams, all playing in a three game format. Each team has to pay a registration fee of $1,500, and every player has to raise $400. It gives hockey fans an opportunity to suit up and hit the ice with some of their favourite NHL players, such as Lindros himself.
Wiping tears from his eyes, Lindros spoke at the Captain’s Breakfast about his work with the Easter Seals before introducing each team captain. He pointed out that life isn’t always fair, but people can help to make it easier for those who need it by donating to organizations like Easter Seals.
Some of the captains were fundraisers, such as Steve “Dangle” Glynn, a popular figure on YouTube and with Sportsnet.
Participating in the Classic are several non-hockey players, but former players as well. Some of these include former Chicago Blackhawk Marty Turco, former NHL enforcer and current hockey broadcaster Nick Kypreos, and former Toronto Maple Leaf Nik Antropov.
Each year the Classic raises money for Easter Seals Ontario, an organization that has been around for 95 years. According to their website, it is an organization that aims to help children with physical disabilities “to experience freedom, independence and a sense of accomplishment.”
Easter Seals assists families with the costs of mobility equipment such as wheelchairs, walkers, porch lifts and ramps. It also helps with communication devices, toileting aids, and bathing equipment.
One of the topics broached by Lindros and other speakers at the breakfast was the camps that Easter Seals sends children to: Camp Merrywood in Perth, and Camp Woodeden in London.
At Camp Woodeden, children get to participate in activities such as archery, sledge hockey, swimming, arts and crafts, dances, music and drama. At Camp Merrywood, children can spend more time on the water by going white water rafting, sailing, canoeing and kayaking.
Camp Woodeden sits on the Thames River in London, and Camp Merrywood is located on a peninsula that stretches into Big Rideau Lake.
Glynn, whose sister has received assistance from Easter Seals, hosts a podcast where he discusses the Toronto Maple Leafs. He says that Easter Seals is a charity that is “near and dear to my heart. They’ve helped out my family. My sister has disabilities, so I’m motivated to raise money for this.”
Glynn struggled to find what he wanted to say when asked how it felt to work with the organization that has helped his family and has played an important role in his and his sisters lives. Eventually he said, “It feels good to pay back an organization like Easter Seals.”
Glynn was announced as one of the captains for this year’s Classic, despite the fact he just learned how to stop on skates. “I was surprised to be asked to even play last year,” he says. “Ken Reid from Sportsnet asked me to join Moose Power – his team – and I told him I couldn’t play and I’ve never played. He said ‘who cares? It’s about fundraising.’”
Glynn then became the team’s top fundraiser, and he was asked to be team captain in this year’s Classic.
Lindros has developed a reputation over his career for being stubborn. Glynn points out that this is a positive. “With Eric, sometimes celebrities get brought to certain events and you can tell they’re just going through the motions and just spinning the wheels. But this really means something to Eric and I think you need that kind of motivated person behind this sort of thing because they’ll just make it so much better. So if he’s going to be hardheaded about it, great. We need more hardheaded people to get the job done.”
So far Glynn and his team are the top fundraisers this year. His team, Rachel’s Raiders, was named for his sister. They have raised $5,385, with Glynn himself raising $2,159.
The Eric Lindros Celebrity Hockey Classic is not the only series of games to be played, there is also the Brad May, Rick Vaive, and Grey Bruce Classics, and others in Thunder Bay and York-Simcoe.
Other players who have participated in the past are Maple Leafs legends Doug Gilmour and Wendel Clark.
The Eric Lindros Celebrity Hockey Classic takes place on Nov. 9 at Iroquois Park Sports Complex, 500 Victoria Street West in Whitby.