A (half) grand opportunity

Kenn Oliver
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Local rec players pay $500 to play against the Montreal Canadiens' alumni next week

How much is a chance to play against a team of former big-leaguers worth to you? A hundred dollars? A thousand? Or is such an opportunity priceless?

For 20 men from the metro region, the chance to hit the ice with the Montreal Canadiens alumni has a specific value: $500.

That’s what they’ve paid to be part of a team that will take on the ex-Habs Tuesday, Oct. 12 at Jack Byrne Arena in Torbay.

It will be one of three games for the Canadiens alumni on a fall trip to Newfoundland. They’ll also play the Mount Pearl Blades and Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars next week at those Avalon East senior league team’s respective home rinks.

A similar offer was presented to Torbay’s senior hockey squad, but after they declined, promoter Steve Walton asked Rian Mugford, who runs a recreational league in Mount Pearl, if he would be interested in putting a group of locals together for a game in Torbay.

“It was short notice, but a lot of the guys came through,” Mugford said. “It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a lot of my friends are big Habs fans.”

Mugford’s recruits all paid their $500 up front,but were given the option of selling 20 tickets for the game at $25 a pop to recoup their expenditure.

“But a lot of guys haven’t sold tickets,” said Mugford.  “They just jumped at the opportunity play.”

The team of 20 “local legends,” as Walton has dubbed them, are predominantly rec-leaguers, but include lawyers and avid hockey fans Steve and Ken Marshall, and Torbay senior hockey players Nick Walsh, Ian Walsh and goalie Chris Feltham.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and a lot of my friends are big Habs fans.” Rian Mugford

The home team could be in tough against the Habs greats in the friendly match as few, if any, know each other.

“I know all of them, but they don’t all know each other,” Mugford said, adding  the team hopes to get a skate together the day before the game.

“I need four forward lines and three defence, so I picked a line from each group of friends.”

Mugford and another friend, Tracy Holwell from event sponsor Iceberg, get to play with former Canadiens such as Claude Lemieux, Stephane Richer and Chris Nilan.

“But I’m more of an Ottawa Senators fan to be honest with you,” Mugford admitted sheepishly.

About 600 or more tickets are available for the game. But diehard Montreal fans can treat themselves to more than a seat in the stands. For $50, you can also buy your way into the Habs alumni’s locker room for an autograph session, For a $100 ticket, fans can join the local legends and the Habs greats in a VIP reception at Green Sleeves on George Street following the game.

Tickets can be purchased by contacting Joe Maynard at 687-3481.

koliver@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Montreal Canadiens, Ottawa Senators

Geographic location: Torbay, Montreal, Torbay.It Newfoundland Mount Pearl George Street

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  • Josh Miller
    October 05, 2010 - 16:14

    Yes, the MIHL probably could have iced a decent team, but Mugford did a great job rounding up 20 bodies willing to shell out the money up front. I'm sure they are all decent hockey players as well. Regardless, this is all about the fun, it isn't designed to be a competitive game. I'm looking forward to playing...should be a good time.

  • MIHL
    October 05, 2010 - 10:31

    This should be fun to watch. It's too bad they didn't come to us. We are the largest hockey league in Newfoundland with 16 teams competing for the George Street Cup for the last 9 years. We could have iced a very competitive team.