FOR BRANT NEWS
Aug. 15, 2012, was the first ever Hockey Night in Brantford and a day for the memory books.
Seventy thousand dollars was raised for the United Way, thanks to the support of generous sponsors, community partners and of course, the wonderful fans who bought game day and raffle tickets.
The event was a sell-out, with 1,300 people packing the Gretzky centre. They were thrilled to welcome home and be entertained by many home grown players who pursued their hockey dreams of playing at the game’s highest levels.
And entertained they were by past, present and future stars of the game – Adam Henrique, Zac Dalpe, Doug Jarvis, Stan Jonathan, Jay Wells, Keaton Turkiewicz, Cindy Eadie, Paul McKinnon and many more.
The game was first conceptualized this past January after I participated in similar games hosted by my colleagues for wonderful causes and charities in their own communities.
After swaying a few key volunteers to come on board, we set out to form a planning committee that could develop a plan and put it into motion. Quickly, our planning committee came together with a myriad of ideas to create a very unique and special event for this community.
The idea of a homecoming game was an instant fit as it allowed for the game to become more than just a celebration of hockey, but rather, a celebration of the success and legacy of hockey in Brantford and Brant.
Our committee set out to recruit home grown hockey talent from every level of the game. The response from players was a level of excitement that, frankly, we could not have predicted. The players were both excited to be welcomed home and to be giving back to a local charity.
The game was complimented by interactive games and displays put on by the Zamboni Company, the Hockey Hall of Fame, RBC, as well as a pre-game family skate with current hockey stars and a post-game autograph session featuring the New Jersey Devils’ Adam Henrique and Carolina Hurricanes’ Zac Dalple.
I was introduced to a family that had travelled from New Jersey after discovering the game on the internet. They were thrilled as Henrique autographed and personalized an action photo and T-shirt for them as souvenirs of their visit to Brantford.
By all measures the event was a wonderful success, thanks to the countless hours of work behind the scenes of a truly committed and exceptional group of volunteers.
Generous local sponsors like The Williamson Group and Nancy Tomkins Denture Clinic stretched their budgets to ensure our fundraising goal was achieved, along with many other local and national financial donors.
My sincere appreciation goes out to everyone who contributed to making this event such a resounding success.
I look forward to building on the momentum of Hockey Night in Brantford’s inaugural year to make the event an even bigger and better annual celebration of our community’s rich hockey heritage in the years to come.
Phil McColeman is Member of Parliament for Brant.