Andy Blackadar, Ian Kent, Joel Zwicker, David Gunn, George Fletcher, and Steve Burns gather for a photo after the announcement of the NHL Legends game coming to Queens. Members of the Queens SkatePark Association and the NHL Legends organizing committee came together at Queens Place Emera Centre on Aug. 11 to announce the coming of an NHL All Star team coming to Queens for a charity game. The SkatePark Association will be the charity benefiting from the game.
©Brittany W. Verge
George Fletcher’s first hockey sweater was, of course, a Montreal Canadiens sweater.
When the official announcement that Queens would be getting another NHL Legend’s game, Fletcher was at Queens Place Emera Centre (QPEC) in his Canadiens t-shirt to be announced as this year’s honourary coach.
Fletcher, a long time coach from Queens County and a huge Habs fan is excited to meet the players, especially the Canadiens alumni.
“When Joel called me and asked, I didn’t even have to think about it,” says Fletcher. “I never had the opportunity to see a live NHL game and I am looking forward to meeting the players in the dressing room and seeing them play.”
After the success of the Toronto Maple Leaf’s Alumni game in 2013, organizers Al Robart, Joel Zwicker, Ian Kent and Mark Thomaes decided to bring in a team that would encompass fans from many different NHL teams.
The All Star team will have players that have played for many teams from the Calgary Flames to the Pittsburg Penguins to the New York Rangers.
This year’s headliner is Ray Bourque who is well known for playing with the Boston Bruins, he’s a member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, and the NHL’s all time leader in points by a defenseman. He was also a part of Canada’s Olympic hockey team in the 1980s.
“This is a once in a life time opportunity to say the least,” says Zwicker, an organizer for the game who spoke at the official announcement.
Last year, fundraising from the game went to the Liverpool Volunteer Fire Department. This year the funding is going to help the Queens County SkatePark Association.
Ian Kent, one of the main organizers of the association says the fundraiser will be a big help with both funding and attention to their cause.
“We were super excited when Joel and Al came to us and asked if we wanted to be the organization to benefit from an event like this,” says Kent. “These are the types of things that are going to bring in $10,000 chunks in.”
Last year’s game raised nearly $10,000 for the fire department. Queens Place Emera Centre was nearly sold out all the seats in the arena. Zwicker would like to see the games continue to be an annual event.
Tickets are going on sale Aug. 13 at Queens Place Emera Centre and are also available through AA Munroe Insurance in Liverpool. The game will be held on Sept. 30 at QPEC.
Al Iafrate – Well known for his legendary slap shot, he’s a four time All Star.
Gary Leeman – Stanley Cup Champion with the Montreal Canadiens.
Bob Sweeney – Three time 20 plus Goal Seasons in the NHL.
Dennis Maruk – Played in 888 NHL Games and scored 356 goals in the NHL including a 60 goal season from 1981-1982.
Ron Duguay – Six time 20 plus Goal Seasons in the NHL with the New York Rangers, Detroit Red Wings, Pittsburg Penguins and the LA Kings.
Chris Nilan – Legendary Canadiens tough guy and a Stanley Cup champion.
Rick Middleton –Eight time 30 plus Goal Seasons and three time All Star and Former Boston Bruins Captain.
Stephane Richer – Two time 50 plus Goal Seasons with the Montreal Canadiens two time Stanley Cup Champion.
Ray Bourque – Five time Norris Trophy Winner, 19 time All Star, Stanley Cup Champion, Member of the Hockey Hall of Fame.