Hockey heroes hit Brockville
There was plenty of yellow and black with just a hint of blue in downtown B rockville on Sunday night.
Hockey Hall of Famers Ray B our que and Joe Mullen were joined by former NHLers Al Iafrate, David Shaw, Andrew Raycroft and Bob Sweeney at a meet-and-greet event held at the Keystorm Pub. The event was a fundraiser for the Brockville Winter Classic.
The guests signed jerseys, books and cards, and shared stories from their days on and off the ice. All six played at some point in their pro careers for the Boston Bruins.
Mullen, to whom emcee John Horrigan referred as arguably the best American to play the game, racked up 562 goals in his career and won a Stanley Cup with Calgary and two with Pittsburgh. A New Yorker whose dad worked at Madison Square Garden, Mullen recalled being shocked to learn that he had been traded by St. Louis to Calgary in 1986. However, he added it was the best thing that could have happened to his career.
“They welcomed me so nicely ,” said Mullen, who noted that regular people greeted him immediately upon his arrival in Calgary and told him it’ s good to have him with the Flames.
Mullen followed up his success in Calgary by suiting up with ‘Mario and the boys’ in Pittsburgh, when the Penguins had a list filled with great players. When asked if he keeps in touch with those former teammates, Mullen indicated some do and some don’t. “Once you see each other, you just pick up where you left off,” he told the Keystorm gathering.
Bourque received the most attentionfrom fans at the B rockville event. The longtime B ruins all-star defence man and five-time Norris Trophy recipient capped his NHL career by winning the Cup with Colorado in 2001.
Ia fr ate, who started his NHL career with Toronto and had the record for the hardest slap shot for many years, was also a popular guest at the event on Sunday.
Belleville native Raycroft was in net for the Maple Leafs for 72 games in 2006-2007, the year in which the team just missed making the playoffs when the Islanders won a shootout in New Jersey on the last day of the regular season. Raycroft said it was a “great thrill” being from Belleville to goto Toronto, adding he got a lot of ticket requests every night.
The B ruins alumni crew visited the Youth Arena prior to the Keystorm event.
First held in 2015, this year’s editionof the Winter Classic is set to run for more than a week in mid-February and will feature a game between the Chicago Blackhawks Alumni and the Tim Hortons All-Stars at the Brockville Memorial Centre on Sunday, February 17.
It was announced on Sunday that Hall-of-Famer and former Chicago captain Denis Savard is slated to appear in Brockville that weekend.
The Boston Bruins Alumni took part in the 2017 Winter Classic. The Montreal Canadiens and New York Rangers were the other two original six teams featured at the annual Brockville hockey celebration.
Winter Classic proceeds continue to support the Rotary Park project. Classic organizers also spearheaded the local Kraft Hockeyville bid in 2016 that made it to the top 10 of the national promotion and won $25,000 for the Brockville facility.
For more information about what’ s planned for 2019, visit www.brockvillewinterclassic.com.
A moment of silence was observed at the meet-and-greet on Sunday for the family of Keystorm owner Dan Thompson, whose father Ron died recently.
Hockey Hall of Famer Ray Bourque (left) chats with Lawrence Fox at a meetand-greet event held at the Keystorm Pub on Sunday. Six former NHL players appeared at the gathering held in support of the Brockville Winter Classic.