Opinion Column

MP extends thanks to those who made cancer fundraiser a success

Patrick Brown

Darcy Tucker was just one of many former and upcoming pros that were happy to sign autographs and take photos with the many fans during the recent Hockey Night in Barrie at the Barrie Molson Centre. (Zach MacPherson Photo)

Darcy Tucker was just one of many former and upcoming pros that were happy to sign autographs and take photos with the many fans during the recent Hockey Night in Barrie at the Barrie Molson Centre. (Zach MacPherson Photo)

I cannot fully express my heartfelt thanks to so many involved with Hockey Night in Barrie.

This year’s charity hockey game in support of the Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre’s new cancer centre was again a tremendous success, garnering national and international attention.

It has become more than just a hockey game; it has become an important cultural event. Where else but Barrie can you get 4,000 people to pack into an arena on a hot summer night in August to watch a charity hockey game?

Raising more than $226,000 in one night is a wonderful achievement, but there are many months of planning involved by so many dedicated individuals before the puck is dropped. These folks continually rose to the occasion and went well beyond the call of duty. In the five years since Hockey Night in Barrie’s first game, our team has raised more than $825,000.

Player liaisons like Stew Garner, Hall of Famer Mike Gartner and NHL legend Dale Hawerchuk were so terrific in helping to deliver the all-star line-up to the ice at the Barrie Molson Centre. Current NHL superstars such as Steve Downie (Colorado Avalanche), Bryan Little (Winnipeg), Raffi Torres (Phoenix), Matt Beleskey (Anaheim) and Corey Perry (Anaheim) along with so many NHL alumni including former Maple Leafs players Doug Gilmour, Mark Osborne and Steve Thomas gave generously of their time and they put on a terrific show for the capacity crowd in attendance.

Community volunteers like Jessica Puddifant, Garry Perkins and Mark Day went well above and beyond the call of duty and Brian Broley of Barrie Ball Hockey was simply amazing. In addition to his organization committing nearly $20,000 towards our cause, when Brian heard that the City of Barrie would not be waiving the fees at the BMC this year for Hockey Night in Barrie, he stepped forward and offered to cover the charges. These are all people who make our city a better place.

Base Borden was well represented in the crowd again this year and their enthusiastic voices could be heard throughout the evening. General J.P. Meloche strapped on the blades and chased the puck up and down the ice like a teenager. Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay played his heart out and was beaming throughout the game.

Having Hockey Night in Canada’s Don Cherry and Ron Maclean taking part together this year was also a special treat. Ron is Canada’s most celebrated sportscaster and Don is truly a national treasure. My very special thanks also goes out to retired NHL referee and Barrie native Ron Hoggarth. Ron refereed and hosted the game again this year. His incredible energy and witty repertoire kept players and fans alike entertained all evening.

The amazing Shayne Corson/Darcy Tucker family were once again so supportive of our fundraising efforts on behalf of our hospital and I thank them from the bottom of my heart. Shayne understands firsthand how devastating cancer is, having lost his father to the disease at a young age.

We have a wonderful hospital and their commitment to patients makes a huge difference for those caring for a loved one during such trying times. My family, like so many others, appreciate the need to provide our hospital with the best tools possible in the fight against diseases like cancer. My late grandmother Edna Tascona was one of the dedicated ‘bluecoats’ at RVH for 40 years. I keep a framed copy of her volunteer certificate in my office. Supporting my local hospital is not only my civic duty, but a cherished family tradition.

I believe Barrie is a very special place. I believe we have a hospital filled with incredible nurses, support staff and doctors and I believe the RVH’s regional cancer centre is making our city even better by having better care closer to home.

The fans in attendance at the BMC, the ticket buyers, never let us down. They came through for their hospital, their city and they should be filled with pride. Well done Barrie! Thank you.

I look forward to seeing you at Hockey Night in Barrie VI. To see game pictures and video, check out www.hockeynightinbarrie.com.

Patrick Brown is Barrie’s MP.

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