2018 kpmg team canada alumni lanny macdonald

Turning fantasy into reality

Almost a decade into their partnership, the Team Canada Alumni Association and KPMG have found a unique way to support the future of the game

Katie Brickman
June 27, 2018

Gord Sherven and Mike O’Neil met like a lot of parents do – at the rink watching their kids.

Since then, Sherven, a former NHLer and Hockey Canada alumnus, and O’Neil, a senior advisor with KPMG in Calgary, have been collaborating on ways to give back to the game.

“We met at the rink when our boys played together,” said Sherven, who serves as chair of the Team Canada Alumni Association (TCAA). “Since then, we partnered together on some major events.”

Nine years ago, Sherven and the TCAA launched the Team Canada Alumni Association Charity Golf Tournament and he invited O’Neil to take part.

“Gord asked if KPMG would like to be involved as a sponsor and we thought it was a good idea,” said O’Neil.

It was during that first golf event that the TCAA held an auction for a fantasy hockey game.

“It was a silent bid process and it turned out that I got the winning bid,” said O’Neil.

At the time, O’Neil didn’t think of his KPMG colleagues, but rather put a call out to friends to see if he could put together a team. He told a couple of colleagues about the fantasy game and they got excited.

“That was the turning point, so to speak,” said O’Neil. “KPMG bought the bid from me and I quarterbacked the event where we invited 15-20 of our clients to come and play.”

Since the first fantasy game in the winter of 2010, KPMG has been back year-after-year with clients enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime experience with Hockey Canada alumni. All the money raised in the golf tournament and the fantasy hockey game goes back to the Hockey Canada Foundation, which supports grassroots hockey across Canada.

“It has turned into a fantastic relationship where we raise money for the Foundation and grassroots hockey,” said Sherven. “They are having a top-shelf experience and get the star treatment of what it’s like to play for Hockey Canada.”

Those that participate in the hockey game get the full spread – the Hockey Canada dressing room, Hockey Canada jerseys with their names on the back, a trainer and a pre-game ‘pump-up’ video – and a chance to face off against players the likes of Lanny McDonald, Sheldon Kennedy and Robyn Regehr.

“After the game, we all enjoy some stories, some snacks and usually a couple of players do a hot-stove type of thing or talk about their experience playing internationally for Hockey Canada,” said O’Neil. “It is very exciting to get to play alongside a few Hall of Famers or people they have only ever read about. For some of our clients, this really is a dream come true.”

With such a successful fantasy event in Calgary, Sherven and O’Neil began to work on other opportunities, including bringing the event to Toronto with Toronto-based KPMG clients and alumni.

“Through our Toronto office, we have the same set up as we do in Calgary and it has been a successful and fun event for our clients there,” said O’Neil.

As exciting as it is to play against some of hockey’s greatest male and female players, at the heart of it for both KPMG and the TCAA is giving back to the communities and kids across Canada.

“It is so important to give back,” said Sherven. “Hockey Canada gave us a great opportunity to play for our country. We both believe in giving back to the game and raising money for the Foundation.”

The future of the fantasy game is strong and both parties are hoping to expand to other major cities where KPMG has offices.

“KPMG is proud to be a sponsor of the golf tournament and fantasy game,” said O’Neil. “The money is going back to a good cause, which strengthens the community, and it helps kids across Canada.”

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 284-6484 

[email protected] 

Spencer Sharkey
Manager, Communications
Hockey Canada

(403) 777-4567

[email protected]

Jeremy Knight
Manager, Corporate Communications
Hockey Canada

(647) 251-9738

[email protected]

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