Sunday, May 8, 2011

A Lifetime of Memories from the 2011 NHL Alumni Scotiabank Pro-Am in Toronto

Since November, when I started in my role as the resident writer for the NHL Alumni Association, I have had the pleasure of interviewing some of the game’s greatest players - it is an honour and a privilege to assist the NHLA and its members to promote their businesses and charitable work. This past weekend I was invited to attend my first NHLA event, the 2011 Scotiabank Pro-Am in Toronto.

The Scotiabank Pro-Am brings together amateur hockey teams and the NHLA for a great weekend of hockey to raise money for the Gordie and Colleen Howe Fund for Alzheimer’s research at Baycrest. Participating teams raise money for the foundation and then draft NHLA members onto their teams. It is a wonderful and inspiring event that has raised over $16 million in six years to assist in the much-needed research at Baycrest.

Looking back on the past few days, there are too many stories to tell (and some that I cannot tell) but I must say that riding on the bus with the Alumni members to and from the Draft Party is a memory I will never, ever forget. Sitting next to three-time Stanley Cup champion Mike Krushelnyski on the bus and having him call me “rookie” was a dream come true! One guest at the Draft Party saw that I was with the NHLA and wanted an autograph. When I said, “I’m the alumni writer not one of the players” they decided maybe they didn’t need an autograph after all - it was hilarious!

Having breakfast with Dave Schultz, Bryan Trottier, Laurie Boschman, John Anderson, Danny Gare and Marty McSorley was another moment to remember and cherish. As was meeting Brad Marsh, the President of the Ottawa Senators Alumni Association and mentioning to him that we have a shared connection - the Dawson City Nuggets. I also had the opportunity to chat with Lanny McDonald, Georges Laraque and Claude Lemieux to thank them in person for taking part in my “Ask the Alumni” series. It was a great feeling to be able to shake their hand and say thank you.

All of the NHL Alumni members at the event went out of their way to make me feel like one of the guys and thank you just does not seem like enough. I started the event as the “new guy” but left Toronto with many new friends and I will be forever grateful to them all for being so welcoming.

Mr. Hockey and The Voice of Sport
 (Photo - TVOS)
On Friday afternoon, I sat and spoke with Mr. Hockey himself, watching him sign a copy of the event program that contains several of my articles. I know my job is writing but there really are no words to describe meeting Gordie Howe! To sit and chat with one of the greatest players in the history of the game, where would I begin?

The motto of the NHL Alumni Association is “Hockey’s Greatest Family” and I can honestly say from personal experience that it is indeed a great family and I am so proud to be part of it and to help raise awareness of the organization and all of their great work. A very special thank you to NHLA Executive Director Mark Napier, as well as Dylan Wade, Carly Napier, Debbie Sittler and Wendy McCreary for the invitation and supporting my work as a writer for the NHLA. I must also thank Sunny Pathak and everyone from Baycrest for including my work in the event program - it was an honour to assist in such a wonderful event.

For more information on the NHL Alumni, their members, my articles and all of the great work they do in so many communities, visit their website (nhlalumni.net) or follow them on Twitter (twitter.com/nhlalumni). You can also learn more about the great work at Baycrest by visiting their site (Baycrest.org).

Talking with Lanny McDonald at the 2011 Scotiabank Pro-Am
(Photo - TVOS)

Exchanging business cards with Stanley Cup Champion
Colin Patterson
(Photo - TVOS)

Mark Napier waits to take a shift during the 2011 Pro-Am
All-Star game
(Photo - TVOS)

Hanging out with NHL Alumni member Claude Lapointe
(Photo - TVOS)

Interviewing Hall of Fame member Dino Ciccarelli
(Photo - TVOS)

Georges Laraque watches the action during the 2011
Pro-Am All-Star game
(Photo - TVOS)

Thanking Claude Lemieux for taking part in my
"Ask the Alumni" series
(Photo - TVOS)

The 1st overall pick in the 2011 Pro-Am Draft
Montreal Canadiens legend Chris Nilan
(Photo - TVOS)

Wrapping up an interview with another hockey legend!
NY Rangers and Boston Bruins forward
Rick Middleton
(Photo - TVOS)

Dylan, Andrew and Sunny at the 2011 Pro-Am
(Photo - TVOS)

Mr. Hockey signing autographs!
(Photo - TVOS)




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