A unique Hockey Day in Canada event

Flames Alumni hit the ice against 4 Wing Cold Lake in the Scotiabank Afterburner Cup as a salute to troops

Wednesday, 18.02.2009 / 11:25 PM / News
By Torie Peterson  - CalgaryFlames.com (@toriepeterson)

4 Wing Cold Lake will be welcoming some special visitors on Saturday as members of the Calgary Flames Alumni fly in to play in the Scotiabank Afterburner Cup.

Theoren Fleury, Jim Peplinski, Jamie Macoun, Dana Murzyn, Colin Patterson, Perry Berezan, Pavel Torgaev, Terry Johnson, Jamie Hislop and Chris Lindberg will be participating.

The Flames Alumni will take part in an outdoor scrimmage with Canadian Forces members and Cold Lake minor hockey players, a skills competition and finally, the Scotiabank Afterburner Cup against a team comprised of 4 Wing members.

“It’s exciting,” said Joel Brooks, goaltender for the 4 Wing team. “These guys are ex-NHLers. To be able to play them, it’s great.”

Joel Brooks, goaltender for the 4 Wing team facing off against the Flames Alumni, at the Martineau outdoor rink in 4 Wing Cold Lake

The Scotiabank Afterburner Cup is taking place in conjunction with the Hockey Day in Canada festivities happening around the country. CBC’s Doug Dirks will be rinkside for the game.

In order to better the community, the organizers wanted to contribute to a local charity. Scotiabank generously stepped up and funded the event and agreed to match funds raised up to $5000. All money raised will be going to a new pediatric medication-monitoring machine for Cold Lake Healthcare Centre. Various fundraising efforts will take place throughout the day.

They also partnered with the Flames alumni and 4 Wing to cover the costs of flying the team into Cold Lake.

“This is a fabulous opportunity for the community to see hockey greats in action and have a lot of fun together,” said Barbara Anstruther, branch manager for Cold Lake Scotiabank. “Given the demand for tickets to the afternoon game, we’re very sure Saturday will be a huge success.”

Anstruther noted that the two Scotiabank-sponsored teams are eagerly waiting for Saturday to roll around.

“Our two sponsored minor league teams and their coaches are excited about getting to spend team time with alumni Flames players and get some pro tips to build their game skills.”

Scotiabank staff at the Cold Lake branch have jumped on board with the Scotiabank Afterburner Cup, helping in any way they can.

”It’s a great opportunity for our staff, who are volunteering, as it’s an important part of our Scotiabank culture and an added privilege to be able to raise funds for pediatric equipment for the hospital as part of this event,” Anstruther said on Wednesday.

Flames alumni Jim Peplinski sees the event as having one objective.

“Plain and simple, it’s to go up and say thank to our troops in Cold Lake. “

Tristan Kean is one of the Cold Lake minor hockey players participating in a scrimmage against the Flames Alumni on Saturday.

Peplinski is very happy to see the community and Scotiabank embrace the event and views the support as a way to enhance the thanks they want to send to the troops.

“Through those partners it’s gone into something more than a simple thank you and it’s including other constituents of the community. We’re excited to have it grow into something more than a simple thank you.”

Major Kevin McNaughton is one of the 4 Wing personnel who will be participating in the Afterburner Cup. A life-long hockey player and fan, he’s looking forward to facing off against some of hockey’s greats.

“It’s great to be a part of Hockey Day in Canada, something that’s being celebrated across the country.”

McNaughton will be in the lineup as a forward but hasn’t played formally for a few years. His two young sons are both in hockey and he hasn’t been able to find the time to join a league.

“I coach one team and I’m an assistant coach on the other team and that’s already five days a week at the rink, sometimes twice a day. I’m very involved in hockey.”

The McNaughton family doesn’t have a favourite team in their house, opting to cheer for all six Canadian teams.

“When I grew up I was a Leafs fan but being in Western Canada now I lean more towards Calgary and Edmonton. I hope they do a little bit better than anywhere else but really, any of the Canadian teams, I’m happy to see them do well.”

Major McNaughton recently returned from a six-month deployment in Afghanistan. During his time there, he was in one of the troops who were treated with a visit from NHL alumni, including former Flame Colin Patterson.

“They stood there all day, signed autographs, played hockey. Blue Rodeo was there. It was one of those tours that came over and it was awesome.”

McNaughton said that tours like the ones NHL alumni embark on are major morale boosters for the troopers.

“It was fantastic and I hope they continue to do it because it really was a welcome thing,” McNaughton told CalgaryFlames.com. “They went to a lot of different places and saw a lot of different Canadians. Overall, it was great experience. It was great to see and a great break in the middle of something that’s pretty serious.”

All events are free but the Scotiabank Afterburner Cup requires tickets to be admitted into the JJ Parr Blue Ice Arena. Tickets are available at Scotiabank, Canex and Cold Lake City Hall.