D.C. Sr. Canucks to host Montreal Canadiens

By on August 28, 2013
Photo credit Contributed | Dawson Creek Sr. Canucks will face the Montreal Canadiens alumni next year

Photo credit Contributed | Dawson Creek Sr. Canucks will face the Montreal Canadiens alumni next year

DAWSON CREEK – Montreal Canadien Alumni will grace the ice at the Memorial Arena next year, they are scheduled to face off against the Dawson Creek Sr. Canucks in a Hockey’s Greatest Stars game, Feb. 7.

Marc Verreault MV Productions, the host company, is doing a western Canadian tour with the alumni players and reached out to the City of Dawson Creek to gauge their interest. City council agreed to enter into a contract with Marc Verreault MV Productions, providing just over $32,000 to host the game with the help of the Sr. Canucks doing the marketing, committee assistance and providing a team to play against the alumni.

“I think they’re just going to love it; it’s going to be fun from start to finish,” said Sheldon Wilkinson, president of the Sr. Canucks, about his players.

All profits of the event will go towards the Sr. Canuck’s operating expenses, helping them pay for ice rentals and travelling to away games. If not profitable, the City of Dawson Creek will become the financial guarantor and pay all outstanding bills.

Coun. Charlie Parslow was not very comfortable with the risk of absorbing the costs should a loss be incurred, and was curious if the city did the same for other organizations. Chief administrative officer, Jim Chute, said that hosting the alumni would be similar to hosting the U-18 Women’s National Championship last year.

“Similarly council took on the risk of running that event, used volunteers from Dawson Creek Minor Hockey to supplement staff and the whole profit from the event was distributed to BC Hockey and to D.C. Minor hockey. So yes, we have done this in the past,” Chute said.

The roster of alumni has not been announced yet, but Wilkinson said that Gilles Lafleur will likely be coaching. Hockey stars like Chris Chelios and Alex Kovalev have also been known to play on the alumni team. The game will be three periods of 15 minutes, with no slap shots or contact during the game.

“We haven’t got a list of who their players will be yet, but I can guarantee that any of their 60-year-old players will give any of our 20-year-old players a run for their money,” said Wilkinson.

Under contract, Sr. Canucks players must not be any younger than 35, excluding some of the team’s players. Wilkinson said that their team usually includes players who have ended their junior hockey careers and men in their 50s who still want to play.

The game will come towards the end of their regular season, just before the playoffs start. Wilkinson believes that the event will not distract the team or negatively affect their performance.

“I think if anything it will breathe a little life into them. It’s always a tough time for us, because we have a lot of games in February and then playoffs start right away and we play every second night. Getting to hang around some legendary hockey idols from the past will be pretty cool for them for sure, and probably put a little jump in their step,” he said.

The Sr. Canucks don’t have a team for 2013/2014 as of yet, but are scheduled to start hosting a free training camp and tryouts in mid-September (the schedule will be posted on their Facebook page at a later date). They are looking to have approximately 25 players for the start of their season in October. The Canucks are also looking for a coach; it’s a paid position and they encourage anyone interested to contact them as soon as possible.

“Every one of our players are working members of our community, and it’s not always easy to get a ton of players out to a 9-10 p.m. practice or game. You get home from a road game at 2 a.m. and have to go work 12 hours in the oilfield … we take as many players as we can initially to try and make sure we can ice a team every game,” Wilkinson said.

Jill Earl

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