Big win in Brown’s name
Memories of Gord Brown flooded the Lou Jeffries Arena on Wednesday (Nov. 28) as family, friends and colleagues gathered to celebrate the late MP’s love of hockey.
In the process, the Gord Brown memorial rink fund and the United Way of Leeds and Grenville skated $80,000 closer to their goals.
The charity hockey game, dubbed Hockey Night in Leeds and Grenville, was a fitting way to remember Brown.
“This brings together two of Gord’s passions – hockey and community,” Brown’s widow Claudine Courtois told the sold-out 1,500-seat crowd at the arena.
Brown, 57, died of a heart attack in his Parliament Hill office on May 2, just hours after playing one of his frequent pickup hockey games.
Courtois told the crowd that if Brown couldn’t be found on Parliament Hill, working with constituents or with his family on the weekend, he’d be at the rink.
Half of the money raised at the charity game will go toward installing the Canada 150 rink in Gananoque, which wi l l be named the Gord Brown Memori a l Canada 150 Outdoor Hockey Rink.
“The shock of losing Gord is still with us but seeing his dream coming closer to reality is very touching and comforting. Gord would have been truly honoured to see this become a reality,” Courtois said.
Gord’s brother Jeff Brown, who is heading up the rink fundraising efforts, said the game’s proceeds will help ensure the committee reaches its $850,000 goal.
Building an outdoor municipal rink in Gananoque had long been a passion of Gord Brown’s and the Thousand Islands Accommodation Partners, which was co-founded by Gord and is now chaired by Jeff, began working on the rink project and on bringing the Canada 150 rink to Gananoque before Brown’s death. After the MP died, the organizers redoubled their efforts to bring the rink to town as a tribute to Brown.
Theother half of the $80,000 raised Wednesday will go to the United Way of Leeds and Grenville, which was another beneficiary of Gord Brown’s community spirit. As MP, Brown organized seven other Hockey Nights in Leeds and Grenville that raised about $800,000 for the United Way.
The game on Wednesday saw members of the Brown family, retired professional hockey players, political colleagues of all stripes, including federal, provincial and municipal leaders, and former teammates from Brown’s beer league team lace up skates.
It was the Blue Team against the White Team, although the Blues could have just as easily been called the Brown Team. Five players donned Brown jerseys – Jeff, son Chance and nephews Colin, Graeme and Sean.
The political stick- handlers included local MPP Steve Clark, Brockville Mayor David Henderson, House of Commons Speaker Geoff Regan and six MPs fromthe federal Conservative caucus.
Brown family members prepare for the start of the game.
Chance Brown, Gord's son, in action.
The game sells out the Lou Jeffries arena in Gananoque.
MPP Steve Clark talks with Jeff Brown during a break in the action.