Junior trophy to appear at London sports dinner

STEVE COAD -- London Free Press

, Last Updated: 12:00 PM ET

Guess what's coming to dinner? The little trophy that means great big things to Canadians, that's what. Along with Danny Syvret and Corey Perry, London Knights stars who were on Canada's gold medal-winning team at the the world junior hockey championship earlier this month in Grand Forks, N.D., the championship trophy will be there for all to see at Monday's 49th annual London Sports Celebrity Dinner and Auction at the London Convention Centre.

The cup will arrive on the Knights' doorstep at the John Labatt Centre from Hockey Canada's head office in Calgary, then appear at the dinner.

Along with the trophy, Perry, Syvret and teammates Rob Schremp and newly acquired Dan Fritsche, who played for the U.S. team in North Dakota, and Dylan Hunter, head table guests at the fete beginning at 5:15 p.m. include Jennifer Hedger, a London native and TSN personality who will serve as emcee; featured speaker Lanny McDonald, best known as a Toronto Maple Leaf but a Stanley Cup winner with the Calgary Flames in 1989; Stratford's Tim Taylor, an ex-Knight who won Lord Stanley's mug last season with the Tampa Bay Lightning; Oakville kayaker Adam van Koeverden, who won gold and bronze medal at the Athens Olympics; Chatham native Shae-Lynne Bourne, a star on the world ice-dance stage, and Jessica Matassa of Oldcastle near Windsor, who captured a bronze medal in the women's wheelchair 800 metres at the Paralympic Games in Athens.

Last year's dinner raised $45,000 for the Thames Valley Children's Centre, which helps children with physical disabilities, communication disorders, developmental delay and autism spectrum disorders. Over the years, the dinner, put on by the Rotary Club of London and the city's sports media, has raised more than $1.3 million.

As well as being an important fundraising event, the dinner and auction is also a night to recognize a variety of local sports heroes.

- Ada Edwards, a tireless worker for women's soccer since the mid-1970s, will be recognized as London's sportsperson of the year.

- The Alex Kelman SPECTRA awards, presented annually to the top graduating male and female student-athletes in London and Middlesex County, will be announced. The winners, who each receive $1,000 scholarships from the New PL, will be surprised on dinner night.

- This year's table of honour guests, a group of high achieving young London athletes, include Sarah DeLeeuw, a member of Western's Canadian Interuniversity Sport women's rugby championship team; Matthew Thornton of Western's Ontario champion men's rugby team; Cristina Bonasia of Western's OUA-winning women's soccer team; Paul Speakman of Western's OUA-winning men's soccer team; James Falconer of Fanshawe College's Ontario champion men's basketball team; Trevor Barton, the Ontario Baseball Association's junior player of the year; Matt Pritiko, 2004 Ron Fellows go-kart champion; Natalie McCabe of the Supernova under-15 girls' soccer team that won the Ontario and Canadian championships in 2004; Karen Brain, a multi-medallist in equestrian at the Athens Paralympics; successful karate kid Megan MacKenzie, and wheelchair curler Chris Daw, who will miss the dinner because he is in Scotland trying to skip Canada to a world championship.

Tickets -- $125 for adults and $55 for students -- are available by calling Centennial Hall at 672-1967.


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