Manitoba NHLers Rangers' Arron Asham, Canadiens' Ryan White, Avalanche's Cody McLeod play in charity hockey game
KEVIN HIRSCHFIELD, QMI Agency
|Terriers captain Kajon McKay trips up Arron Asham during "Arron's Chance 2 Play" charity game in Portage la Prarie, Man., Dec. 21, 2012. (KEVIN HIRSCHFIELD/QMI Agency)
PORTAGE LA PRARIE, MAN. - It was a night of fun Friday at the PCU Centre as Portage native and New York Ranger forward was back in town hosting the “Arron’s Chance 2 Play” charity hockey game.
Asham and a team of friends, including Montreal Canadiens forward Ryan White and Colorado Avalanche forward Cody McLeod, suited up to take on the Portage Terriers.
The Terriers managed to win the game 8-6 but the score meant little on the night as all funds raised were donated to Asham’s “Chance 2 Play” charity.
Organizers estimated close to 1,000 people attended the game. The amount of funds raised had not been added up as of press time but a decent total was expected.
“We had some pretty good fan support,” said Asham. “We’re gonna raise a bit of money here and it’s going to a good cause so I was definitely happy with the turnout.”
The night included the three NHLers signing autographs, and skating with kids before the game.
Asham says it’s a welcome change to what most NHL players have been talking about and dealing with over the last few months—the current lockout that could completely wipe out the 2012-13 season.
“It gets your mind off of what’s going on right now and it’s good to get out here with some old teammates, some family and friends and shoot the puck around.”
His “Chance 2 Play” charity has been running since 2005 and has assisted over 160 children and their families. He says he enjoys every minute of it.
“Getting kids out there, getting them active and playing the sport that I love,” Asham said.
“It seems like this charity has grown and grown and we’re helping more and more kids and the more the merrier. We’re helping a lot of children around here in Central Manitoba and that’s the most important thing.”
Asham gave the call to fellow Manitoba NHLers, White from Brandon, and McLeod from Binscarth, and they were more than willing to come out and support the cause.
“It’s great especially for guys like us who haven’t been playing hockey too much this year,” said White.
“So it’s good to be back out at the rink and playing some hockey and having some fun. It’s for a great cause, we had a few kids come up to us and thanked Arron for what he does for the community. It’s pretty special to see something like that.”
McLeod says he’s been skating with the Waywayseecappo Wolverines a bit during the lockout, a team that he suited up for once upon a time, and was excited to get back on the ice in a game situation.
“It was good to go out there and play around,” said McLeod. “Arron does a great thing here for the kids and I was just glad I could come out and help.”
Terriers Head Coach Blake Spiller said the team was more than happy to participate despite coming off a game Thursday night and having to play a game Saturday night in Swan Valley.
“It’s always a pleasure to be involved in charity,” said Spiller. “It was a nice crowd here tonight and I thought the game was entertaining.”