St. Stephen/Grand Manan – Hockey fans, are you sitting down?
A team, formed of Boston Bruins alumni, is slated to visit St. Stephen and Grand Manan to take on a team of local legends – all for a good cause – to raise money for St. Stephen Minor Hockey and Grand Manan Minor Hockey.
Steve Walton, president of the NHL Legends Tour, said the Bruins alumni lineup will feature Hockey Hall of Famers Ray Bourque and Joey Mullen, as well as “Bruins greats” Rick Middleton, Ken Linseman, and Al Iafrate. Other confirmed Bruins alumni include Jay Miller, Dan LaCouture, Allen Pedersen, Ken Hodge, and Roy Nolan.
The game in St. Stephen, which will take place March 12 at 7 p.m., at the Garcelon Civic Center, is the first of a three game stretch. On March 13, the alumni will play in Grand Manan at the Grand Manan Community Arena at 6 p.m., and then travel to Edmundston to play in the brand new Centre Jean-Daigle facility.
Fans will also have the opportunity to meet with the Bruins alumni by purchasing a dressing room pass, or a meet and greet ticket – both of which are $50 – and includes the cost of admission.
Tickets for the St. Stephen event can be purchased at the Garcelon Civic Center or from members of St. Stephen Minor Hockey, while in Grand Manan, tickets are available at the Grand Manan Village Office.
In St. Stephen, the meet and greet will take place at The Five Kings Restaurant, while in Grand Manan, the meet and greet will follow the game at The Compass Rose.
It’s been nearly 13 years since the NHL Legends Tours began, with St. Stephen being a regular stop on the tours during the first years. Walton said “it’s about time we came back to St. Stephen”.
“I think it’s been about four or five years since we’ve had a game there; we’ve not had a game at the Garcelon (Civic Center), the last game was at the Border Arena.
“The civic centre is a beautiful facility, and we’re excited to be playing there.”
Walton said it’s a great feeling for the alumni to have the opportunity to connect with fans – of all ages.
“They miss playing in front of the fans like the old days but they really appreciate how the fans still enjoy having them play hockey.
“There’s nothing better for them than entertaining the young kids who weren’t even born when most of them retired, so it’s quite a phenomenon really. They really connect with hockey fans both young and old.”
Rob Dougherty, who is in charge of the St. Stephen local legends team, said when he started to put the team together, those he approached with the opportunity “jumped at the chance”.
Dougherty said as well as himself, the local legends team will include Blair Furlotte, who will play in net, while other confirmed skaters are Mayor Allan MacEachern, Nick Reid, Dana Gullison, Jamie Kinney, Corey Fleming, Jody Smith, Jay Curran, Eric MacDonald, Blaine Gregory, Adam Stinson and Shawn Cameron.
Two members of the St. Stephen Spartans varsity boys’ hockey team, Joel Peters and Jackson Furlotte, will also suit up against the Bruins alumni.
“We’ve had these games before, and it is quite a thrill to play against them. I mean, these are guys that you grew up watching on TV; it’s kind of surreal to think that you’ll be playing on the same ice as them.
“It’s really exciting, and a lot of fun,” Dougherty added, and noted he’s also looking forward to the game being played at the Garcelon Civic Center.
“This is the fifth game I’ve done with Steve (Walton), and with the new civic centre being built, I think it’s an excellent venue for this type of game. It means a lot to St. Stephen to bring these types of names to town.”
Dougherty said he hopes to get in a practice (or two) with the group of local legends before their team takes on their hockey heroes.
“We could probably use a practice or two before we play the Bruins,” Dougherty joked.
“We’ve got guys of all skill levels. It’s a fun game; the Bruins aren’t out there to make fools out of anybody.”
Dougherty also mentioned during the second intermission, a novice team from the minor hockey association will take to the ice for a 10 minute game against the Bruins.
“It will be something that they’ll remember forever.”
In addition to the Bruins legends suiting up for the event, Walton said John Horrigan will give a play-by-play during the game. Horrigan has more than 25 years experience as a sportscaster, and has called games for multiple New England teams, including the Boston Celtics, Boston Red Sox, and New England Patriots.
“He’s a huge deal, we’re so lucky to have him be a part of the tour. He really, really adds to the show,” Walton said.
Walton said the tour has made a big impact, since its inception more than 10 years ago.
“We’re up to raising two million a year per year for charity – the players are pretty proud of that, that they are able to still have an impact with hockey fans to help generate those dollars.
“We like to leave as much in the community as we can,” Walton added.
“We’re not just about coming in to play the game and leaving town, we want to interact with as many people as we can, put as many smiles on the faces as we can, and hopefully raise some good money for St. Stephen Minor Hockey and Grand Manan Minor Hockey.”