By Marianne Curtis
When it comes to community fundraisers, the Ile Des Chenes Hockey Association knows how to put on an event. On February 11, almost seven hundred and fifty Habs fans were treated to an once-in-a-lifetime experience when some of the greatest hockey players in Canadian history took to the ice in an exhibition game against the local boys, IDC Elks.
From the moment the doors opened, the excitement was thick as hockey fans of all ages shook hands with the likes of Guy Lafleur, Stephane Richer, Jocelyn Lemieux, Patrice Brisebois and Richard Sevigny during a pre-game meet and great in the newly opened IDC Community Centre. The Montreal Canadien Alumni team which also included Sergio Momesso, Normand Dupomt, Gilbert Dionne, Mathieu Dandenault, Gilbert Delorme and Georges Laroque was in town for one night to help the Ile Des Chenes Hockey Association raise funds for the club.
There were many big stories from the night, including how Bill Mateychuck from Zhoda managed to spend the came as assistant coach. The coveted position of assisting Lafleur during the game was won by the ex hockey player on Ebay. Mateychuk wore the number 10 jersey when playing hockey in honor of his hockey hero, Lafleur. Both his sons and now his grandson’s all have worn the number 10 jersey over the years.
Real Berard and Pierre Fournier were also being winners of the night because they got to play hockey on the same team as the Habs after paying $1,500 for the privilege of suiting up as guest players.
While the Elks got soundly beaten 12 to 4 by the Canadiens, the players on the ice the final score did not matter. Elk’s goalie JP Collette says that it was the most exciting night of his life.
“To be able to meet the players I’ve idolized all my life was amazing and then to play against them was the icing on the cake,” Collette recalled. “I gave it everything I had but their skill level was overwhelming – surreal is the best word I can think of at this time.”
His sentiments are surely echoed by the group of youngsters between the ages of 5 and 8 that had a chance to help the adult team, which included some of their fathers, during the second period. After the adults cleared the ice, the youngsters swarmed the net with many attempts to score on Sevigny. There was even a mock fight in the corner.
Marc Palud, IDCMHA’s fundraising coordinator was very pleased with the event’s overall success.
“We had a confirmed seven hundred and thirty-eight people attend the event,” stated Palud. “We are especially grateful to the many volunteers who would countless hours to ensure this events success.”
The evening ended with a fundraising social and silent auction where fans could bid on autographed memorabilia.
Premier Greg Selinger was on hand to drop the puck to kick off the game between the IDC Elks and the Montreal Canadien Alumni team on February 11.
One of the highlights of the night was when the younger ELK players had a chance to take on the hockey greats during the second period.