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Friday, September 19, 2014

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Street hockey tourney raises funds for kids

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Members of the Deloitte team savour victory over the Le Rinque Huskies with the trophy at the Street Hockey de Rue Tournament outside the YM-YWHA Ben Weider JCC.

The final street hockey scores and winners ultimately didn’t seem to matter much.

In the Sunday, 14-team Roadrunner Youth event, the LCC Ice Dogs bested Kuper Academy. In the 28-team Adult Classic the next day, Deloitte beat Le Rinque Huskies.

What counted most was that the inaugural Street Hockey de Rue tournament outside the YM-YWHA Ben Weider JCC on the May 20-21 long weekend was an unqualified success, raising $305,000 to be divided equally between the Y and the Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation (MCCF).

And oh, more than a few Habs “alumni” were on hand to add to the fun – including Guy Carbonneau, Patrice Brisebois, Gilbert Delorme, Sergio Momesso and Karl Dykhuis.

Organizers and participants could not have asked for more, said Robert Oringer, honorary co-chair of the weekend with Brisebois, and event chair Steve Stotland.

“The event… was a tremendous success,” Oringer said in an e-mail exchange with The CJN, “in terms of fun for the players and the fans, but also the fundraising.”

That sentiment was echoed by Stotland, who conceived of the tourney and first approached Y president Peter Lewis and MCCF chair Pierre Boivin with the idea.

“It was absolutely tremendous,” Stotland told The CJN. “We sold out on all the teams and already have requests for next year. It was also fantastic for the Y because it elevated it from a local facility to a partnership with downtown.

“The organizing committee and the Y did a fantastic job.”

Hundreds poured onto cordoned-off Westbury Avenue for the two days of competition, which included a “champions party” after the youth event, with music artist Annakin Slayd, and a Legends Game capping off the adult competition the next day pitting Habs alumni against select youth team reps. Slayd and local comedian Sugar Sammie participated in that event.

 For the Legends Game alone, noted event publicist Fred Avertik, the bleachers set up for the weekend overflowed with 400 people, all of whom had the chance to rub shoulders, chat with and get autographs from Habs they may have only seen before on the ice. Two CF-18 Hornet fighter jets from the Canadian Forces base in Bagotville performed a fly-by over the Y.

Top fundraisers for the tourney will be included in next hockey season’s official Habs team photo, while winners in the competitive events garnered luxury Bell Centre game tickets and more.

Plans are for the tournament to become an annual event and a sustainable source of revenue for both the Y and MCCF, since having the Habs “brand” and top corporate names like Bell Canada and L’Équipeur attached to the event proved invaluable.

Overall corporate sponsorship, Oringer said, was very strong, and “we [were] incredibly humbled by the outpouring of generous support.”

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