SUN Hockey Pool

Taking it outdoors for charity

MIKE ZEISBERGER -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 10:20 AM ET

The thought of replacement players staggering across the Air Canada Centre ice is enough to make one well-known Maple Leafs subscriber shiver in disgust.

"Would I really want to renew my season tickets at the ACC to see that? No way," former Leaf Doug Gilmour said yesterday.

With the season set to be officially scrapped tomorrow, terms like "replacement players" and "impasse" are sure to dominate a sport once known for its bone-jarring hits and spectacular goals.

All the while, locked-out NHLers are left to focus their efforts on charity tilts like the Our Game To Give event, which is scheduled for April 2 here at Ivor Wynne Stadium in Hamilton.

With 30,000 fans expected to shoehorn their way into the home of the CFL's Tiger-Cats, the evening is being billed as the largest-attended hockey game in Eastern Canada.

BENEFIT RED CROSS

Gilmour, Rob Blake, Ryan Smyth, Martin Brodeur, Bryan McCabe, Todd Bertuzzi, Mike Comrie, Darcy Tucker, Shayne Corson, Wade Redden, Joe Nieuwendyk and Marty Turco headline the list of NHLers past and present who will skate for the Canadian Red Cross and Camp Trillium.

"When do you have the chance to play outdoors anymore?" Nieuwendyk said. "I haven't done that since I was a kid."

Also lacing up the blades will be Indianapolis Colts kicker Mike Vanderjagt, who played triple-A minor hockey growing up in Oakville.

"I'm going to be better than a lot of people think I will," said Vanderjagt, who recently set up a backyard rink for his young son.

"Growing up in Canada, of course, hockey is a big part of your life. It's a thrill to be lining up with guys like this."

Canadian Arena products will set up the rink, while CIMCO will look after the chore of making the ice. Both companies handled those same duties during the highly publicized Heritage Game at Edmonton's Commonwealth Stadium 15 months ago.

"There are a couple of differences between this and the Heritage Game," Gilmour said. "First, it should be warmer than it was in Edmonton. And we're playing for fun -- there aren't two valuable points in the standings on the line."

Tickets are $35 and can be purchased through Ticketmaster or by calling 416-870-8000.


Videos

Photos