A who’s-who of Canadian hockey went west to Vancouver, B.C., for the 2014 Hockey Canada Foundation Celebrity Classic on June 23-24, recognizing the very best in the game, both past and present.
The two-day event was highlighted by the presentation of championship rings to Canada’s three gold medal-winning teams from the 2013-14 season – Canada’s Men’s Olympic Team, Canada’s Women’s Olympic Team and Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Team.
“I definitely got the butterflies,” National Women’s Under-18 Team member Ainsley MacMillan said of seeing her ring for the first time. “It symbolizes something we worked so hard for, not only this year, but all the way back to when we started playing hockey.”
In addition, a trio of Canadian hockey legends – Clare Drake, France St-Louis and Steve Yzerman – were officially invested into the Order of Hockey in Canada.
To find out more about this year’s Distinguished Honourees of the Order of Hockey in Canada, CLICK HERE.
The centrepiece of the event was the gala dinner, which took place June 23 at Rogers Arena, home of the NHL’s Vancouver Canucks.
The evening included live and silent auctions, presentations to the three Order of Hockey in Canada honourees, and a hot stove with the captains and coaches of Canada’s Olympic teams – Sidney Crosby, Mike Babcock, Caroline Ouellette and Kevin Dineen.
The following day, Northview Golf and Country Club in nearby Surrey hosted the celebrity golf tournament.
The Celebrity Classic is the largest fundraiser for the Hockey Canada Foundation, which works closely with Hockey Canada to raise money to support minor hockey programs. The foundation focuses on three areas of funding: accessibility, diversity, health and wellness; skill development; and hockey heritage.
In total, the 2014 gala and golf tournament raised more than $500,000, which will go to Hockey Canada Foundation initiatives that support accessibility to the game, from grassroots hockey to Olympics teams, as well as to legacy programming in the Vancouver area, similar to what has been done in past host cities.
“This is all about raising money for hockey across Canada, and especially here in Vancouver,” said Jim Treliving, chair of the Hockey Canada Foundation. “We talk about all the other things happening here, the gold medals and all that, and that’s really nice, but we’ve got to get our kids into hockey and keep them there.”
Working with the Canucks for Kids Fund, legacy funding from the 2014 event will benefit KidSport B.C., Athletics for Kids, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of South Coast B.C., ultimately creating greater opportunities for underprivileged kids in Vancouver and across British Columbia to enjoy the game.
The foundation says that more than 300 minor hockey players in the Greater Vancouver area will have their registration fees covered for the 2014-15 season thanks to funds raised at the Celebrity Classic.
“This is such a great event for us, not only because we get to recognize Canada’s gold medallists,” said Chris Bright, executive director of the Hockey Canada Foundation, “but because we get to give back to the game.”
It was the first time the Hockey Canada Foundation Celebrity Classic has been held in Vancouver. In its first 10 years, the event made stops in Calgary, Edmonton, Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto.