More than 230 people tuned in to watch local celebrities face off (virtually) against NHL players in the first virtual NHL vs Sudbury hockey skills competition on June 23.
Sudburians, including a few NEO Kids, the "You Know What I'm saying Tricks" guy Ryan Pawlowski, Greater Sudbury Police Chief Paul Pedersen and the head of mines technical services for Vale's North Atlantic operations Gilbert Lamarche went head-to-head in a puck-flipping skills challenge against NHL players including Nick Foligno, Marcus Foligno, Tyler Bertuzzi, Seth Jones, Cam Atkinson, Boone Jenner and Zach Werenski.
The exciting match brought together some great match-ups, specifically for NEO kid Lennox Therrien.
After a nail-biting challenge, Lennox beat out his favourite hockey player and hero Boone Jenner – centre for the Columbus Blue Jackets. Lennox then moved on to beat Marcus Foligno by one point which advanced him to the semi-finals.
Another round brought together Columbus Blue Jackets teammates Nick Foligno and Zach Werenski. Unfortunately, Foligno did not advance to the next round and Werenski headed to the semi-finals.
It was a close match throughout the competition, but in the end Columbus Blue Jackets forward Cam Atkinson won the match taking the title of the first ever Vale present: NHL vs Sudbury hockey skills competition winner.
Thanks to an anonymous donor who matched the total funds raised from the virtual event, $78,900 was raised for NEO Kids. But organizers would like to remind the public that donations are still being accepted and will be matched until June 26. Click here to make a donation online.
“We are incredibly blown away by the generosity and support of the community for Vale presents: NHL vs Sudbury – our first virtual event. Every dollar raised from the event will advance our goal of keeping children as close to home for care as often as possible. Your donations and support are directly impacting our youngest and most vulnerable patients in Northeastern Ontario,” Health Sciences North president Anthony Keating said, in a press release.
"We cannot believe the tremendous support we have received for this event,” Nick Foligno, honorary chair of NEO Kids Foundation and Columbus captain said in a news release.
“I would like to thank all involved in making this virtual event such a success, especially the people who supported NEO Kids and who continue to want to make a difference in our community. I would also like to extend my sincere gratitude to my teammates who participated in the event, as well as the local celebrities and NEO Kids who made the event such an incredible time.”
If you missed the live event, which was emcee'd by Nick Liard, you can re-watch the challenges here.