By me, Dee
With the NHL lockout now in full force and negotiations at a stand still, it seems hockey fans will have to continue to be patient and wait indefinitely to see their favourite players back in action. Many NHLers, including the likes of, Rick Nash, Alexander Ovechkin, Pavel Datysuk, and Jason Spezza (just to name a few) have already opted to play in Europe for the duration of the lockout. Fortunately, Canucks fans will not have to wait for the end of the lockout to see some of their favourite Canucks hit the ice, thanks to Kevin Bieksa.
Bieksa, recognizing that local charities are suffering as a result of the NHL lockout, has organized a charity hockey game to be played at the University of British Columbia’s Doug Mitchell Sports Centre in Vancouver on October 17, 2012. The game will have “Bieksa’s Buddies,” consisting of fellow Canucks, Daniel and Henrik Sedin, Maxim Lapierre, Dan Hamhuis, Manny Malhotra, and Cory Schneider, take on the UBC Thunderbirds. Net proceeds from the game will go to support local organizations such as Canuck Place Hospice, Canucks Autism Network and the Canucks Family Education Centre. Tickets for the game went on sale October 6, 2012 and sold out in just twenty minutes, roughly raising $100,000 for the three charities (x).
Bieksa stresses the need for such an event, explaining, “[t]hese organizations do great work for our community” and they “need funds to continue operating their programs” (x). Elated that tickets sold out so quickly, Bieksa values the public’s support for the game: “It shows the passion of the community here and how much they miss hockey. We’re looking forward to putting on a good show for them” (x).
The Grimsby, Ontario native notes that in addition to ticket revenue, further funds will be collected via a 50/50 draw and online auctions of jerseys and other sports memorbilia, with hopes of raising over $100,000 (x). Aside from the obvious financial support the game will provide the charities, Debbie Butt, director of marketing and communications for Canuck Place, appreciates such an event simply because it helps “build…awareness that [these charities] need funding” (x) and hopefully encourages others to donate.
While Bieksa hopes to be playing NHL hockey again soon, he has hinted at the possibility of holding another charity game in the future, proposing, “[i]f the event goes smoothly we’ll work on another one if the lockout continues” (x).
The event also seems to have become a family affair for the Canucks blueliner, who will be skating alongside one of his brothers and will have his father, Big Al, referee the game. Bieksa jokes, “[d]on’t be surprised if I’m in the penalty box at one point even if I don’t deserve it” (x). The game, much like Kevin Bieksa himself, will not disappoint and guarantees to be a thrill to watch.
By ForeverCanuck on Aerys Sports