NHL players with roots in the community are heading back to town in August to take part in an annual summer fundraising event for the Human League Association.
Playing for Change II is a three-day event, running from Aug. 8 to 10, which includes a country music concert, a hockey game and the 15th annual NHL Legends of the Game Charity Golf Classic. All funds raised through the event will be put into the Human League’s Breakfast Club for Kids and Positive Leisure Activities for Youth (PLAY) programs.
Playing for Change II begins Aug. 8 when NHL alumni and Cambrian Summer Hockey League players face off at the Countryside Arena, starting at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10.
“It’s our intent to give the community at large the opportunity to see some past and present NHL hockey players playing the game,” Paul Brokenshire, co-ordinator of the event, said.
On Aug. 9, families are invited to kick back with some homegrown talent at the Grace Hartman Amphitheatre in Bell Park, featuring country stars Larry Barrio and Gil Grand, together on stage for the first time. Opening the show will be the winner of the North of Nashville country superstar search, which was held at Cousin Vinny’s over the past month. Tickets are $20.
The main event is Aug. 10 at Timberwolf and Cedar Green Golf Clubs. Participants will have an opportunity to spend a day on the greens with past and present NHLers from Greater Sudbury, including Ron Duguay, Reggie Leach, John Baby, Craig Duncanson, Andrew Desjardins, Bobby Chaumont, Drew Banister, Barry Moore and many more. In total, there are 18 hockey players confirmed to participate in both the golf tournament and hockey game.
“It’s the only tournament of its kind in Sudbury with the NHL players,” Brokenshire said. “The players have a great time. They know it’s for the kids.”
Registration for the Timberwolf tournament is $200, while Cedar Green is $150.
While the golf tournament has a long history in the community, it was just last year that the event — which is the association’s major fundraiser — was expanded to include a concert and hockey game. Rod LaRocque, president of the Human League, said last year’s event was “highly successful,” with the golf tournament alone bringing in about $57,000, and the hockey game bringing in more than $11,000.
“What it translates into is about 200,000 meals for local school children here in Greater Sudbury and the North Shore,” LaRocque said.
The Human League’s Breakfast program feeds more than 3,700 children each school day. Through the PLAY program, more than 6,000 local children (roughly 400 each year) have been registered in leisure activities, and had their equipment costs subsidized.
“It’s pretty phenomenal from the perspective of those children, who might not otherwise have an opportunity to participate — they have an opportunity now as a result of ongoing initiatives provided by the Human League and our partners in northern Ontario,” LaRocque said.
Brokenshire added that the most important part of the Human League initiatives are the volunteers who help drive them. “We have roughly 250 volunteers that help deliver the programs, which is a big job in itself,” he said. “We’re always in need of more.”
Posted by Laurel Myers