Canucks Alumni set to battle military

CAF Warriors and former NHL players gather for a group shot following the Abbotsford Heroes Hockey Challenge in April 2013.

CAF Warriors and former NHL players gather for a group shot following the Abbotsford Heroes Hockey Challenge in April 2013.

Peter Mallett, Staff Writer ~

A cast of NHL alumni are sharpening their skates and taping their sticks, preparing for a charity hockey battle against top hockey players from the Canadian Armed Forces.

The Heroes Hockey Challenge Victoria 2016 gets underway March 6 at 5:30 p.m. at the Q Centre in Colwood. The game features Vancouver Canucks Alumni and other celebrities facing off against the Warriors, a squad of top players participating in the Canadian Armed Forces Old Timers Championship at the Wurtele Arena from March 6 to 10.

Alumnus participating in this year’s game include defenceman Dave Babych, and centres Cliff Ronning and Kyle Wellwood. Also part of the team will be forward Mark Lofthouse, who played with the Washington Capitals, Detroit Red Wings and Winnipeg Jets, and Ty Gretzky, son of hockey icon Wayne Gretzky.

“This event is an excellent opportunity for Canadian Armed Forces members to play with some of Vancouver Canucks hockey’s greatest in support of a worthy cause,” said RAdm Gilles Couturier, Commander Maritime Forces Pacific. “All of the money raised will go directly towards programs and services that benefit wounded military members, veterans, their families, and our Esquimalt Military Family Resource Centre (MFRC).”

Proceeds from the $10 general admission tickets will go to support Heroes Hockey Challenge, owned by the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) Foundation, a group that supports former service members and their families; funds raised from a 50/50 draw will go to the Esquimalt MFRC.

LGen (Ret’d) Ken Foster, President of the PPCLI Foundation, and RAdm Couturier hatched the plan for a Heroes Hockey Challenge (HHC) game in Victoria over a recent dinner engagement.

HHC, now in its fourth year, has hosted events in Calgary, Vancouver, Abbotsford, Edmonton and Toronto. It was founded by army brat and Vancouver entrepreneur Glenn Cumyn and MCpl (Ret’d) Paul Franklin, a double amputee who lost his legs to a suicide bomber during a 2006 deployment in Afghanistan.

HHC was developed after the two noticed “undeniable similarities” between hockey players and military members, says Cumyn.

“The NHL community, like soldiers, are a very close, tightly knit family,” says Cumyn. “While they aren’t putting their lives on the line for their countries, hockey players do put their bodies on the line for their teams and fans. In both trades it’s all about team work, never letting your teammates down, and always having their back. These are the Canadian Armed Forces heroes.”

Cumyn says former Canucks goaltender Richard Brodeur was one of the HHC’s most foremost and ardent supporters. More recently HHC has received support from NHL legends Wayne Gretzky, Johnny Bower, Garry Unger and Darryl Sittler.  

In the hours prior to the opening face off of this year’s game, HHC will host a fund-raising gala brunch in the Wardroom at 12 p.m. March 6.

Tickets to the event include VIP admission to the game and a post-game reception, also held at the Wardroom. VIP packages range in price of $1,000 for a table of eight, to $125 for individuals.

Gala tickets may be reserved by email to
Group tickets will be invoiced for payment in advance. Individual tickets may be paid by cash or cheque at the Wardroom before lunch.

Single-game tickets can be reserved online, to a maximum of eight per order, at or at the Q Centre.

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