Not only was the fourth annual NHL vs Docs hockey game a big hit with fans, it was an enormous fundraising success.
Presented by Vale, the annual game that sees a team of NHL players, put together by Columbus Blue Jackets captain Nick Foligno (who is also the honourary chair of the NEO Kids Foundation), take on a team of local doctors, led by Dr. Sean Murray, the head of the family and child medicine program at Health Sciences North.*
This year's game, held on Aug. 11, saw a record-breaking 3,100 fans pile into Sudbury Arena for a full afternoon of fun, including autograph signing with the NHL players.
Thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor who matched all funds raised, the game raised an incredible $348,848 for NEO Kids, bringing the four-year total to $790,590.
Following this year’s game, Technica Mining also presented An Evening with NHL Legends, which brought together more than 160 fans, legends and NHL players at Respect is Burning downtown to mix and mingle for a good cause. The evening concluded with Joe Bowen, famed Canadian Sportscaster and a Sudbury native, facilitating a live auction in his unique only-the-way-Bowen-can style.
"We are so proud of the growth of this event in our community!" said Nick Foligno. "We cannot believe the tremendous support we have received for this event and NEO Kids. I would like to thank all involved in making the two events such a success, especially the people who came out to support 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 make the trip to Sudbury every year to support a cause that is near and dear to my heart.”
Foligno was joined by his Columbus Blue Jacket teammates Seth Jones, Cam Atkinson, Boone Jenner, Josh Anderson, Brandon Dubinsky, Pierre Luc Dubois and Scott Harrington. Joining them on the ice were John Tavares from the Toronto Maple Leafs, Marc Staal from the New York Rangers, Matt Duchene from the Nashville Predators and Anthony Duclair from the Ottawa Senators.
Representing Sudbury medicine were physicians Dr. Christopher Trebb, Dr. Steve Morris, Dr. Andre Michon, Dr. Sean Murray, Dr. Ryan DeMarchi, Dr. Ryan Hodgins, Dr. Jason Prpic, Dr. Rob Pineau, Dr. Paul Gibb, Dr. Ian Symington and Dr. Chris Bourdon.
Off the ice, the NHL team had its own celebrity coaches. These included former Sudbury Wolves coach, NHL player and NHL assistant coach Mike Foligno, former NHL players Derek Mackenzie, Cory Stillman (current head coach of the Sudbury Wolves) and Andrew Brunette, and legendary Maple Leafs broadcaster Joe Bowen.
Outside the hockey world, members of the cast of Letterkenny, which is filmed in Greater Sudbury, were also on hand, including Andrew Herr, Jared Keeso, Nate Dales, Dylan Playfair, Evan Stern and Tyler Johnston.
“It was a truly remarkable, record-breaking day at this year’s event! We are incredibly thankful for the support we have received from our outstanding physicians, NHL players, and our community,” said Anthony Keating, the president and chief development officer for Foundations and Volunteer Groups at Health Sciences North.
*An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated Technica Mining presented both the game and the evening reception. That has since been corrected.