SUN Hockey Pool

Five Oilers .. one for all, all for charity

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:21 AM ET

Edmonton Oilers' tough guy Georges Laraque has never come across a charity he wasn't interested in lending his name and effort to - even if it's outside his own community. Laraque and four other Oilers' players, Ryan Smyth, Fernando Pisani, Steve Staios and Eric Brewer, will participate in a series of charity hockey games in B.C. this month.

OPENING GAME

The first game, organized by Bear Mountain Resort, a golf course and housing development headed by former NHLer Len Barrie, is set for Victoria next Thursday.

After that, it's a trio of games organized by Brad May of the Vancouver Canucks to benefit the Canuck Hospice for Sick Children, a series dubbed the Brad May and Friends Hockey Challenge.

Games are Dec. 12 in Vancouver against the WHL Giants, Dec. 14 in Prince George and Dec. 15 in Kamloops.

"It'll be the highest level of hockey that I've played since last season," laughed Laraque. "What could be better to do than play to help out the charities?"

Laraque has spent the NHL lockout skating at a local arena with several other locked out players, including Jarome Iginla, who will also take part in the games organized by May.

"It'll be good to play," Laraque said. "I haven't been looking to play anywhere like in Europe or whatever. I haven't even been outside the city, so this will be fun. It's a good cause."

Brewer hasn't skated since returning from the World Cup, but he'll get back on the blades in preparation for the series. He won't play in the Victoria game.

"I'll give her a go for the last three games," Brewer said. "The time off the skates has been good, but I'm going to get on there right away, I think. I'll get on the ice a few times and I'll be good to go."

The game in Vancouver is sold out and will be simulcast on Bell ExpressVu. Bell has committed $50,000 in sponsorship to the series, which is expected to raise about $300,000 for the Canuck Hospice for Sick Children.

COMMITMENT

Smyth was approached about playing in a 10-game, seven-country charity tour of Europe that begins Tuesday and runs through Dec. 23 - a series organized by IMG - but he had already committed to the games in B.C.


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