When Troy Roblee’s old buddy from back east in New Brunswick called him up one day out of the blue to see if he wanted to hop on a ferry and come play hockey in Chilliwack with some of the greatest to ever play the game, he jumped at the chance.
His friend works with a company that puts on events featuring NHL alumni, and Roblee thought it might be cool to bring one to Campbell River. So he partnered up with the Campbell River Old Timers Hockey League – and threw some of his resources from Tyee Chevrolet Buick GMC at it, as well – and made it happen.
And so, on Oct. 6, Ray Bourque, Al Iafrate and other ex-Boston-Bruins will converge on Rod Brind’Amour Arena for a game to benefit local charities.
“I wanted to bring one of the original six teams,” Roblee says, “and the Bruins alumni squad seems to be the most vibrant right now. And not to mention, right now, in all the alumni games, I would say that Ray Bourque is probably the biggest attraction.”
In his second time taking the ice with the Bruins alums, however, he’ll be on the opposing team playing alongside the Campbell River Old Timers. But he’s okay with that.
“I’m actually a Habs fan, so it was pretty hard to put on that Bruins jersey,” he says with a laugh.
But is it just going to be a bunch of old guys coasting around on the ice trying not to hurt themselves? Why should people buy tickets to this thing?
“It’s a lot of fun,” Roblee says, “but these guys aren’t going out there to put on a comedy show. They’re going to be playing some really good hockey, and it’s great for people to get out and see some of these guys that maybe you grew up watching. I mean, Ray Bourque, you wouldn’t believe how much fire this guy still has out there. He’s a changed guy once he gets into the dressing room and straps that gear on. He takes it very seriously, but he also likes to have fun and understands that most of the people are probably there to see him. But he doesn’t let it go to his head. He’s a great guy.”
Although the hockey will be the main draw, there will also be a bunch of other things happening that night to get people involved in the fun.
“We’ve got a lot of things lined up throughout the night at the intermissions and before and after the game,” Roblee says. “We’ve got all kinds of prizes – somebody’s going to get a chance to win a car through Tyee Chev – and not to mention there are lots of chances to meet the guys.”
Al Iafrate, for those who don’t know, is best remembered for his booming slapshot. Back in 1993 at the NHL All-Star Weekend Skills Competition he clocked a shot at 105.2 mph, which stood as the record for 16 years until broken by Zdeno Chara in 2009.
And he may just pull back on one of those rockets at the Brindy if we’re lucky, Roblee says.
“He tells me he likes to have the two defencemen split so he can let one rip every once in a while,” Roblee says. “And our goaltenders – one is 60 years old, but plays like he’s 40 – and the other is 30 something, so they better be watching for that.”
The goaltenders will certainly be getting a workout on the day, Roblee says. The hometown ones, anyway.
“They’ll let up on us if we get behind by a dozen or so,” Roblee says. “At least I kinda hope so.”
But in the end, it’s not about the final score.
All the money brought in from this will be getting split between the Old Timers, Campbell River Minor Hockey and Cameryn’s Cause, but Roblee says the Old Timers will likely end up re-distributing their third to other charities throughout the community, “because we don’t really need more than we make during our regular fundraisers.”
General admission tickets are available for $25 at Tyee Chev, both Shoppers Drug Mart locations, as well as Save-On Foods. If there are any tickets remaining on game day, they will be available at the door, but Roblee isn’t sure whether that’ll be the case.
There are also a few $100 VIP tickets left, which admits the ticket holder to the meet-and-greet with the players before the game, as well as refreshments and autograph session in the mezzanine area.
“There were 100 of those available and there are maybe 10 left,” Roblee says.
But even if you can’t manage to get one of those, you’ll still have a heck of a time for your $25 admission price, and it’ll all go to a great cause.