After years of giving it to their competitors, NHL alumni are giving it back to the community. On April 28, more than 200 years of NHL experience will be on skates at the Meadow Park arena for a charity hockey game the NHL Alumni Celebrity Hockey All Stars versus the Vancouver Canuck Alumni.
Its a fun game, says All Stars organizer Robin Wyss, "but everybody comes to play."
The All Stars have toured around the U.S. in recent years, staging charity games in resort towns like Aspen, Jackson Hole, and Sun Valley. This is the first time that they have hosted an event in Whistler, although according to Wyss a NHL Players Association representative and Vancouver resident its been a long time in coming.
"The All Stars have toured around various United States resort areas for the last couple of years, and every time we come home, (Tony) Tanti, (Dave) Tiger Williams, Gary Nylund, and myself always say, weve probably got the best resort in North America in our own backyard, and nothings every been done there in terms of a charitable type of hockey game with NHL alumni and celebrities."
The game starts at 7 p.m., and all proceeds will be split between the Whistler Minor Hockey Association, the B.C. Hockey Benevolent Association, the Vancouver Canucks Alumni Association, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinsons Research although Fox wont be in Whistler, he has attended other All Stars events.
The All Stars, which includes celebrities in the lineups, will be anchored by a strong core of veterans:
Dennis Leary is a comedian with several movie credits to his name, a host of the NHL all-star game, and is coming out with his own situation comedy called Leary.
Chris Potter, a Canadian actor, is currently starring in the hit sitcom Will and Grace, and playing hockey with other Canadian transplants in L.A.
Forward Tony Tanti is a 10-year veteran of the NHL, playing with the Chicago Blackhawks, Vancouver Canucks, Pittsburgh Penguins and Buffalo Sabres.
Gary Nylund, who was born in Surrey, played with the Toronto Maple Leafs from 1982 to 1986, the Chicago Blackhawks from 86 to 89, and the New York Islanders from 89 to 93.
Dave "Tiger" Williams, from Weyburn, Saskatchewan, played in the NHL for 13 seasons and five teams: the Leafs, the Canucks, the Detroit Red Wings, the L.A. Kings, and the Hartford Whalers.
Bill Ranford, a Stanley Cup winning goalie with 14 years in the league, played with the Boston Bruins, the Edmonton Oilers, the Bruins again, the Washington Capitals, Tampa Bay Lightning, Red Wings and, for his final season, the Oilers.
Paul Reinhardt started with the Calgary Flames in 1980 and finished with the Canucks in 1990.
The Vancouver Canucks Alumni, which may include a few of the All Stars when the team is sorted out, will include Orland Kurtenbach (70 to 74), Chris Oddleifson (73 to 81), goalie Richard Brodeur (80 to 88), and Garth Butcher (81 to 91).
Tickets to the event, which are available at Meadow Park and Sport Stop, are $10 for an adult, $8 for a youth, and $25 for a family of four.
In addition, the All Stars will be hosting a banquet and charity auction at the Fairmont Chateau Whistler the night before. "Its a chance to mingle and meet the players," says Wyss. To book a ticket for the banquet, call Wyss at (604) 671-7929.