Bruins Alumni game in Red Deer to benefit local charities

By Sheldon Spackman
September 8, 2018 - 2:28pm

The Mustard Seed and Shalom Counselling Centre in Red Deer have teamed up to host a major hockey-inspired fundraiser next spring.

The Boston Bruins Alumni hockey team is coming to Red Deer March 17, 2019 to face-off against the Red Deer Hope Stars to help bring hope to some of our community’s most vulnerable.

Bruin alumni players anticipated to play include Ray Bourque, Rick Middleton, Ken Linsemen, Reggie Lemelin, Al Iafrate and several surprise guests.

The Red Deer HOPE STARS roster will be made up of players able to collect $750 in pledges, along with representatives from Red Deer EMS, RCMP and Fire Department.

The game will take place at the Enmax Centrium at 3:00 p.m. and be followed by a post-game banquet at Festival Hall where up to 235 people are expected to attend.

Proceeds raised will be divided equally between the Mustard Seed and Shalom Counselling Centre of Red Deer.

VIP tickets are on sale now through with VIP ticket options including the chance to meet Bruin players in the locker room between periods and attending the post-game banquet with premium seating behind the Bruins bench.

Select-A-Seat Tickets and Family Packs go on sale September 22.

In addition, there will be a three-on-three Street Hockey Tournament organized by the Red Deer Optimist Club September 29 to promote the alumni game and raise money for the club. It’s expected the Red Deer Hope Stars jerseys will be unveiled that day.

Nine pledging referees will also be participating.

Event organizer David Foster, a self-described huge Bruins fan, says the idea for the game came from a desire to raise awareness about the programs and services organizations like the Mustard Seed and Shalom Counselling offer the residents of central Alberta.

“They’re there, they’re available but sometimes they’re hard to get,” says Foster. “I went out and approached these different charities to see if they would work together and move forward and show the community that we can do this and make it easier for people and what they’re all about. It’s not so much about the dollar amount but more about the awareness and passion to the community and what they do for the community.”

He says there are numerous charitable organizations throughout central Alberta that could also benefit from events like this in the future.

“I plan to keep going with these types of fundraisers in years to come,” states Foster. “Attracting different NHL Alumni teams to come and play hockey, play golf, whatever it happens to be and get these partnerships going and show people that it is possible.”

Benno Fath, Executive Director, Shalom Counselling Centre says getting involved in an event like this is another way for them to raise money to help them provide emotional and therapeutic care to the central Albertans who need it regardless of income.

“Working with the Mustard Seed helps create even more awareness in our community that we’re there and that we offer this service to central Albertans,” adds Fath. “This is an event that we could not have been part of without being partnered and not just in terms of the cost of putting it on but the different skills. Partnering allows us to bring all our skills to the table and work together for the benefit of central Alberta.”

Scott Tilbury, Development Officer with The Mustard Seed in Red Deer, says an event like this has not taken place in our community in seven years.

“Partnering with non-profit organizations in the community is very important to make a significant difference,” explains Tilbury. “We believe that it’s so important to continue to educate Red Deer on the challenges related to the opioid crisis, the challenges related to poverty and the men, women and children who struggle every single day to get through life. We want to bring awareness to the fact that many who come to the Mustard Seed, 50 per cent of them have work, they’re just struggling to get by in other areas.”

Speaking with Drive Mornings this week, Rick Middleton, President of the Boston Bruins Alumni, says retired players often love these opportunities to give back and enjoy time with ‘the guys’ again.

“Being able to go back and play hockey again, fun hockey, for charity, helping to raise money for the most part is what the guys really enjoy,” says Middleton. “We’re just happy that we can get so many guys together and go out and play and just help raise money and put some smiles on some faces.”

Mike Thibeau, Marketing Manager at Southside Dodge Chrysler Jeep, presenting sponsor of the event, says the Mustard Seed is just one of many charitable organizations throughout central Alberta that Southside Dodge is growing their relationship with.

“We firmly believe in supporting the community that has supported us throughout the years,” says Thibeau. “It’s beneficial to help those that are in need. I know there’s a lot of charities that help with people over-seas but it’s also very important and very imperative to help those in our own community and this is a great way to do it.”

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