The seventh annual Pro Hockey Heroes benefit game is set for Wednesday, Dec. 27 at 7:30 p.m. at the Iroquois Park Sports Centre.
Event manager Matt McGinty says the benefit game has shown to be a proven crowd-pleaser since it began in 2010.
“It’s mass appeal. Everybody loves hockey, young and old,” McGinty says.
Fans will recognize a number of players they likely remember watching in the 70s, 80s, and 90s, and to McGinty, it’s an opportunity for younger fans to learn some history.
“Honestly, from ages five to 65, people are excited to share their stories and their favourite players,” he says.
Some of the players participating in the game include Toronto Maple Leaf alumni Gary Leeman, Al Iafrate, Craig Muni, Ric Nattress, Nik Antropov and Darryl Shannon.
Joining them is Bernie Nicholls, who became one of only five NHL players to score 70 goals in a season in 1989/1990.
McGinty says he’s always amazed by the level of play from the former NHLers, some of whom have been out of the league for nearly two decades.
“You can definitely see their skill levels haven’t lessened,” he says. “A lot of them play regularly in alumni games. Generally, the guys they are playing are half their age and they still get beaten.”
The entire event atmosphere is very welcoming, McGinty notes, as players are happy to sign autographs and take pictures.
“The guys are all very approachable. Generally, they come and say hello to everyone,” he says.
Durham Regional Crime Stoppers vice-chair Jim Mudge says the benefit game is a significant fundraiser for the organization.
“We collect about 15 to 20 per cent of our annual budget from this fundraiser,” he notes.
Funds are used towards rewards for anonymous tippers and promotion of Crime Stoppers’ efforts throughout the region.
With the loss of its annual golf tournament, which ran for 25 years and was a major fundraiser, Mudge says Pro Hockey Heroes has “helped out quite a bit in minimizing the impact” for Crime Stoppers.
“We appreciate everything they do to help us keep the community safe.”
Tickets for the game range from $30.51 to $84.75 plus HST, to purchase tickets or for more information on the game and Pro Hockey Heroes, visit prohockeyheroes.com or call 1-888-777-9793.