By Matthew Abrey
The Montreal Canadiens Alumni Team may have beat the COHA Kights 13-6, but the real winner in Saturday afternoon’s charity hockey game at Memorial Arena in Kelowna, was the Central Okanagan Hospice Association.
Natasha Girard, executive director of the Central Okanagan Hospice Association, estimates that the star-studded game will have raised over $50,000 when all is said and done.
“We had an opportunity to be a part of this wonderful event and we thought about it, and we decided it would be a really great community event. Nothing like this has happened in Kelowna,” Girard said. “It’s extremely overwhelming to have the support for something like this. We really touch the lives of all ages, and this really is a community event for all ages.”
The COHA Knights, made up mostly of ex-NHL players, along with a handful of lucky Kelowna residents, opened the scoring just over a minute into the contest. The teams would trade goals until the third period, when the boys in the ‘bleu, blanc et rouge’ really put on a show for the 1,050 spectators in attendance, exploding for six goals en route to the 13-6 victory.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Canadiens alumni player and former enforcer John Scott, who was suddenly thrust into the NHL spotlight in 2016 when he was unexpectedly voted captain of the Pacific Division All-Star Team.
“It was pretty cool and it was for a great cause, so it made it fun.”
Following the game, the Canadiens Alumni squad was off to Nanaimo for the last stop on their B.C. tour.
“We’re spending five days in B.C.,” said Alexandre Verreault, coordinator of the Montreal Canadiens Alumni Division. “We started in Kamloops, then went to Chilliwack, Trail, now Kelowna, and we finish in Nanaimo. Although we don’t always choose a specific cause for every game, when we were looking at coming to Kelowna, COHA was a great cause, and it gives us great pleasure to support these causes by putting on an event like this and raising money.”
If you missed the game, but still want to donate to the Central Okanagan Hospice Association, visit hospicecoha.org, or call 250-763-5511.
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