Smyth looks to charity

ROBIN BROWNLEE -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 7:11 AM ET

If he can't play for an NHL paycheque, Ryan Smyth of the Edmonton Oilers says he'd just as soon play for charity.

Smyth, who participated in the Brad May and Friends Hockey Challenge, a four-game series of charity games in B.C. in December, is contemplating putting together a fundraising tour of his own and said yesterday he will set the plan in motion if the NHL season is cancelled.

"Brad did a really good job in B.C. and I think we could carry that forward," Smyth said. "I'm giving it some serious consideration, but I want to wait and make sure we don't have everything in place and then, all of a sudden, the season starts up."

Smyth, along with Oilers teammates Steve Staios, Eric Brewer, Fernando Pisani and Georges Laraque, played in games in Victoria, Vancouver, Prince George and Kamloops. The tour resulted in a cheque for $300,000 being presented to the Canuck Place Children's Hospice Dec. 22.

The likeliest scenario would include five or six games in Alberta, including Edmonton, Saskatchewan and Manitoba in February or March. Smyth, who is involved with the Stollery Children's Hospital, has made initial inquiries about staging such a tour.

"I've got a few contacts," Smyth said. "There's a lot of guys who aren't overseas who'd like to play.

"I've talked to a few guys and some of them are pretty excited about the possibility. It would be a go with them."

With wife Stacey expecting a child in April, Smyth says he'll be staying close to home. He isn't entertaining thoughts of playing in Europe if the season is cancelled.

Smyth applied to play for the Bentley Generals of the Chinook Hockey League in December, but was turned down because he's a player currently under an NHL contract.

"There are a lot of charities out there," Smyth said. "I'm involved with the Stollery, and there's no better feeling than giving back to the kids. If we can get out there and play and do that, it would be great."


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