The sun was out, but the stars were still shining for the Homebase charity softball game on Friday June 24.
NHLers were on the field at Elks Stadium for the charity game benefiting the KGH Foundation, in support of the ‘We see you’ campaign towards mental health.
Carey Price coached. Brent Seabrook, Brayden Schenn, Mike Smith and Shea Weber batted. In the end, everyone just had fun for a good cause.
Blake Comeau, one of the founders and an alumnus of the Kelowna Rockets, said that all the players were “chomping at the bit” to come back to play after two years off.
It showed — the line for autographs for players like Weber, Brayden and brother Luke, Brendan Gallagher, and retirees like Wade Redden and Jordin Tootoo was long.
Many were there to see Montreal Canadiens goaltender Price. Habs fan Brandy waited in line with a painting she painted herself for the chance to get a signature from #31.
“It’s been a work in progress for quite a few months,” said Brandy, who added that she and her husband are “big Habs fans”.
Blake Comeau and Josh Gorges, both now retired from the NHL, host the tournament annually - though, due to the pandemic, this is the first Homebase since 2019.
“I felt like we had a really good thing going for a couple years,” said Comeau. “Unfortunately COVID hit so we had to take a couple years off, but to see the support that we’re getting again this year, to get all the guys together and play some baseball for such a good cause and have some fun.”
Is there any rivalry? Not really, says Comeau and Gorges.
“All of the guys that come out here are friends,” said Gorges. “They’re guys that are willing to come out, and support us and support the cause. I feel like we’ve got a really good group of guys here, a really tight-knit family from the hockey world…as soon as we sent out some messages to get the guys involved none of them hesitated.”
The event raised more than $242,000 in support of the ‘We See You’ campaign with the Kelowna General Hospital Foundation.
The funds raised will provide resources for community mental health care providers in order to help people who are struggling. The goal of the program is to build a sustainable, inclusive, and accessible mental health care system. For more information about the ‘We See You’ campaign or Homebase 2022, please visit kghfoundation.com.