Hockey Night in Brantford kicked off with much excitement at the Wayne Gretzky Sports Centre on Wednesday night.
Organizer Brant MP Phil McColeman said the event raised between $65,000 and $70,000 for the Brant United Way, after 1,200 tickets were purchased by local hockey fans, selling out a rink filled with families.
“I’m tremendously excited,” McColeman said. “This is the culmination of a lot of hard work by a lot of people.
“It’s a community event that will now be held annually.”
Hockey Night in Brantford attracted local NHL players Zac Dalpe of the Carolina Hurricanes and Adam Henrique of the New Jersey Devils, in addition to a roster of former hockey pros.
Canadian Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay attended the event and said he was happy to show his support by participating in the game.
“I’m very excited to be here,” MacKay said. “I jumped at the opportunity. (Brantford) is like the heartland of hockey, being Wayne Gretzky’s hometown. A lot of great hockey players have come out of Brantford.
“These things are a wonderful opportunity to get the whole community involved and to help out a great cause.”
Henrique said he was pleased to see such a great turnout at the event.
“To see the success the event has had, it’s great for the community,” Henrique said. “I hope to be a part of this as the event grows over the years.”
Dalpe said he was honoured to lace up his skates with fellow hockey greats in support of charity.
“It’s exciting to see the arena fill up with fans,” Dalpe said. “I’m flattered to be here and I hope to be here for many years to come.”