Without hesitation, the best hockey players from Manitoba will showcase their skills next Thursday in a fun-filled game for CancerCare Manitoba.
The Sizzlin' Summer Showdown happens at the Selkirk Recreation Complex Aug. 3 and it will give hockey fans feeling the summer drought a a rare opportunity to check out the pros up close.
More than 25 current and future NHLers will be playing to help the Believe in the Goal Foundation in the fight against cancer. The foundation was created by former Regina Pat Todd Davison, who was diagnosed with synovial sarcoma in his left shoulder on June 2004.
"It's going to be a great event," said Travis Zajac, who recently left the University of North Dakota to sign with the New Jersey Devils. "I grew up playing with Todd and I am glad to be a part of it."
The Believe in the Goal Foundation has teamed up with the Never Alone Foundation, which was created in 2005 by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers after CEO Lyle Bauer was diagnosed with throat cancer.
Virtually everyone knows someone that has been struck by cancer. Former Manitoba Moose defenceman Nolan Baumgartner can especially relate to an event like this.
"I have an aunt and uncle who are currently fighting cancer and my wife's mother died of cancer," said the rearguard, who has signed with the Philadelphia Flyers for next season.
"Any guy will tell you he'd be glad to come out and do an event like this. We are very lucky to be in the situation we are in and it's great to help people out whether they are fighting this disease or any other one."
Keeping with the fun spirit, Power 97 announcers Lochlin Cross and Philly are the celebrity coaches. The anticipation has already begun. Since last Tuesday, every day at 3:20 p.m. on Power 97 each coach drafts three players for his respective team. This is being done until the day of the event.
Zajac went to Team Lochlin Cross with the first overall selection and Team Philly countered with Atlanta Thrashers forward J.P. Vigier, who hails from Notre Dame de Lourdes.
Other players in the game include Chicago Blackhawks prospect Jonathan Toews and the much-publicized Dustin Penner, who climbed from junior college hockey to a regular spot with the Anaheim Ducks last season.
More than 1,000 tickets have already been sold and the organizers are shooting for a sellout of 1,861. The event kicks off with a barbeque at 5:00 p.m. and the puck is scheduled to drop at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster for $15.