NHLers rally for cause

Marc Chouinard snaps the puck past Jean-Sebastien Giguere during the La Caravane McDonald's 4-on-4...

Marc Chouinard snaps the puck past Jean-Sebastien Giguere during the La Caravane McDonald's 4-on-4 hockey game at the Robert Guertin Centre last night. The game involving locked out NHLers raised $44,000 for charity. (Ottawa Sun/Sean Kilpatrick)

BRUCE GARRIOCH -- Ottawa Sun

, Last Updated: 9:57 AM ET

Instead of collecting their big salaries last night at the Robert Guertin Centre, NHL players were skating for a good cause.

The McDonald's Caravan -- organized by New York Rangers defenceman Joel Bouchard -- dropped by Gatineau with former Olympiques winger Luc Robitaille in the lineup and an enthusiastic crowd of 2,554 on hand.

A total of $44,000 was raised, and all the proceeds will go to the Ronald McDonald House.

These players are trying to make the best of a bad situation by skating on weekends in different towns throughout Quebec on a tour that will continue through December.

"The guys have had a lot of fun and the games have been competitive," said Bouchard, who lined up the major sponsors from McDonald's, Molson Export, Home Depot and Danone.

RAISE FUNDS

"This is a situation where I thought we had a chance to make something positive out of a negative. Look, we'd all like to be playing in the NHL, but this is a good chance to raise money for children and we enjoy that."

The lineups are solid. Montreal's Jose Theodore, Mike Ribiero, Craig Rivet and Francois Bouillon are on the three teams which include Florida goalie Roberto Luongo and Anaheim's J.S. Giguere, who was shelled for eight goals.

"I had a lot of opportunities to go to Europe, but I decided I wanted to stay close to family until we see what happens," said Luongo, who indicated he will try to play in the world championship for Team Canada if the season is cancelled.

Former Senators tough guy Andre Roy is having fun.

"Hey, the days are getting pretty long sitting at home with your wife ... and girlfriend," quipped Roy, who won a Stanley Cup with the Tampa Bay Lightning last season.

"This is something that's fun to do while I'm waiting for my offer for big money to play in Russia. It's nice to go out there and be able to use my skills without worrying about fighting."


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