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Hockey Challenge meets fundraising goals

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Next year’s event should be more profitable, musical

There were a lot of memorable moments in The Keg Sea to Sky Hockey Challenge held in Whistler and Vancouver last weekend.

There was a one-timer breakaway goal by the Hanson brothers, of the movie Slap Shot; Vancouver mayor Larry Campbell stopped a shot by Hall of Fame-er Cam Neely; six-time Stanley Cup winner Bryan Trottier scored on a breakaway goal.

By the time three periods in Whistler were over the score was 8-7, with the Hockey Heroes – which included a number of former NHL all-stars – edging the Hollywood North Stars team.

The following day in Vancouver, the teams battled to an 8-8 tie at GM place after the Hockey Heroes tied the score with a minute and a half remaining.

Although all the players and fans had an entertaining weekend, the real winners are the athletes who are in training for the Olympics. All the proceeds from the event will go towards the Athletes at Work Legacy Fund.

The organizers are still crunching the numbers, but it looks like the event will reach its modest goals for the first year.

"Off the books, it was a huge success," said Will Davis, the general manager and producer of The Keg Sea to Sky Hockey Challenge. "Mayor (Hugh) O’Reilly and Mayor (Larry) Campbell have definitely signed on for next year. After that amazing save he made in the third period (Campbell) wants back – not just to play, but to back the whole event and give it his support.

"In terms of numbers, our goal was to raise $20,000 this year for the athletes. So far it looks like we’re going to reach that objective.

"Between (referee) Ron Hoggarth and the Hanson Brothers, I think everybody got their money’s worth."

Because the event is in its first year, it was difficult to find sponsorships or get discounts from suppliers, Davis says. As a result, most of the money raised by the two hockey games and a dinner, auction and comedy show in Whistler will go to covering costs. Renting GM Place for Sunday’s game was $70,000. The MVP dinner, auction and comedy show at the Telus Whistler Conference Centre cost $20,000.

"When groups start to pick up those costs for us, we’ll have a lot more money to give to the athletes," said Davis.

With more time to promote and organize next year’s event, Davis believes they will be able to make a bigger impact for Olympic athletes.

In the next few weeks, Davis is also confident he will be able to announce partnerships with Spirit 2010, 2010 LegaciesNow and the province of British Columbia.

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