SUN Hockey Pool

Smyth hits the road

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI -- Edmonton Sun

, Last Updated: 9:13 AM ET

The Ryan Express is officially on the move.

Edmonton Oilers winger Ryan Smyth announced the launch of his charity hockey tour yesterday - a four-stop event to raise money for local minor hockey programs.

"It all started when I couldn't play with my brothers," said Smyth, who was thwarted in an attempt to play senior league hockey with Kevin and Jared. "It's tough not playing hockey and I thought Brad May did an excellent job with his charity games, so I thought I'd expand on that through Alberta and Saskatchewan."

Smyth will be joined by 27 other locked-out NHLers, including Tie Domi, Kris Draper, Shane Doan, Wade Redden, Robyn Regehr, Robert Luongo and fellow Oiler Eric Brewer. The three Smyth brothers will all be playing on the same line.

"I'll be the centre," chuckled Smyth.

Of the four stops, only one is in Alberta (Wednesday, March 22, at the Red Deer Centrium).

The other dates are March 23 in Moose Jaw, March 24 in Regina and March 25 in Winnipeg. Tickets are $25 each, through Ticketmaster.

"We want to try a few new things, like maybe taking the red-line out," said Smyth. "I'm not keen on it in the NHL, but this is for the fans and we're trying to win some of our fans back."

Smyth's family is from Red Deer (his dad will be a coach for the game there) and he played junior in Moose Jaw.

"My wife is from Moose Jaw and I haven't been back since I played, so it's going to be special," said Smyth, adding they intentionally stayed away from NHL centres.

"We don't want to really step on anybody's toes as far as sponsorship goes, and it would probably be tough getting ice."


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