By Kevin J. Sabo
For the Advance
After being delayed three times due to the COVID-19 health emergency affecting the province, the long-awaited North vs. South NHL Alumni game was finally held on Sept. 18.
The game, originally scheduled for March 29, 2020, brought together five veteran NHL players from both the Calgary Flames and the Edmonton Oilers to play in a “battle-of-Alberta” style match-up. In addition to the five veterans on each side, each team was filled out with eight local players who paid to play with the veterans.
Suiting up for the Calgary Flames team were NHL veterans Theo Fleury, Dana Murzyn, Jamie Macoun, Mason Raymond, and Curtis Glencross. Locals playing for the Flames were Euan Hanton, Dallas Hildreth, Justin Roth, Jared McNabb, Clint Hronek, and Brody Gall. Sharing goal-tending duties were Shawn Roth and Jeff Ensign. The team was coached by Brad Golby, Kelly Hildreth, and Brett Hauck.
Suiting up for the Edmonton Oilers team were NHL Veterans Georges Laraque, Chris Joseph, Mike Krushelnyski, Ethan Moreau, and Bryan Muir. Local players filling out the Oilers team were Bryce Cooke, Chris Stewart, JD Johnson, Brian Weeks, Mike Lougheed, and Aaron Compton. Goal-tending was taken care of by the tandem of Derrick van Heinen and Don Reiter. The team was coached by Wayne Filipenko, Troy Slemp, and Tom Coppock.
The doors for the event opened at 4 p.m., with the player introductions beginning at 5 p.m. After the introductions, Gus Wetter School Principal Wendy Coppock sang Oh Canada, then the NHL alumni played a short game against the Castor U11 Cyclones. After that, it was time for the main event.
Dropping the puck around 5:20 p.m., the Oilers drew first blood 33 seconds into the game.
Unfortunately for the Oilers, the rest of the goals for the period were tallied for the Flames, with a score of 5-1 at the end of the period. Entering the second, the Oilers managed to hold the Flames to one goal for the period, while chippiong away at their deficit with three of their own. The final period had the Flames back on the offensive, scoring another five goals and holding the Oilers to three. Final score at the end of the game was 11-7 for Calgary.
Thanks to the pandemic, the alumni game has taken a circuitous journey to get played. It was originally scheduled for the early days of the pandemic, then rescheduled to Nov. 14, 2020, then to April 4, 20201, before finally getting played in September.
Fortunately, the game was able to go ahead despite recently announced provincial restrictions on Sept. 16.
In total, 400 tickets were sold for the game, and another 215 were sold for the banquet catered by Michelle Breum. The banquet kicked off at 7 p.m. at the Castor Community Hall and featured a 45-item silent auction which raised $6640, and a live auction which auctioned off a Glen Anderson jersey for $900.
“The event was very well-received, and has been given rave reviews,” said Castor Recreation Director Natasha Bozek after the event.
“I think it is safe to say that (funds raised) will be over at least $10,000.”
The funds raised from the event are going towards paying down the debt on the Beaverdome renovations.