The skates were tied, the jerseys were pressed and the trash-talking started before the game, but it was all in the name of fun in the first annual Wild Rose Hockey Challenge.
MPs from across the country and MLAs from across Alberta faced off against each other in the challenge in support of Victim’s Assistance in Airdrie yesterday.
“I really enjoy hockey and it’s a great way to raise some money,” said Blake Richards, host and MP for the Wild Rose constituency. “We just thought it was a great idea to do it here in our riding.”
Richards is a part of the public safety committee and wanted to support a charity that would fit into that area and cover his entire riding.
The 16-player teams each had 13 politicians and three professional hockey players for support, including Zach Boychuk, a member of the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes and also a part of the winning Canadian World Junior team this year.
“I’ve lived in Airdrie for about five years, and when they asked me to come play this game I got really excited,” said Boychuk. “When I get the chance to come out here and do something for the community and contribute to a charity, I’m always up for that.”
Even though many of the players were below Boychuk’s playing level, he said that it was very competitive, especially when it took two players from the MPs side to take Boychuk down as he tried for a breakaway.
Approximately 500 people got to watch former teammates Boychuk and Dana Tyrell, a member of the Tampa Bay Lightning, face off against each other.
“I knew they were going to put us on separate teams to get that rivalry going. It’s fun, we are having a good time out there,” Boychuk said.
However, Boychuk’s five goals in the game couldn’t push the MLAs past the MPs as the federal team went on to win 17-13.
The game raised $7,559 for Victim’s Assistance in Wild Rose through ticket sales and a silent auction.