John Chabot closes in on finalizing tour of Northwest Territories for locked-out NHL players
DON BRENNAN, QMI Agency
OTTAWA - Final touches are being made in the plan for ex-player John Chabot to lead a group of locked-out NHLers on a tour of charity exhibition games in the Northwest Territories.
The group would consist mostly of Senators, but also would include players from other organizations. The plan is to leave Nov. 18 to for a 3-4 day trip to Yellowknife.
“We’re very, very close,” Chabot said of having all the details in place. “The only thing we (still) have to into place is our trip up there, to get the flight from here to Yellowknife. Everything else is taken care of.”
Travel costs for the group are expected to be in the $30,000-35,0000 range.
Chabot is organizing fundraising exhibitions in Ottawa for the players to “get the bugs out” before they leave on their trip.
Cornwall is hosting a game Monday at 7:30 p.m. Confirmed Senators taking part are Chris Neil, Zack Smith and Marc Methot. Also playing is free agent Jesse Winchester, who spent parts of the past five seasons with Ottawa.
The Cornwall Civic Complex is just “one of 10” venues Chabot is looking at. Others on his call list includes the Kanata Recreation Complex, Earl Armstrong Arena, Nepean Sportsplex, the Smiths Falls Memorial Community Centre and the Brockville Memorial Centre. The Robert Guertin Arena in Gatineau will also draw his consideration.
“We’ll know by probably (Friday) where we’re going to be,” said Chabot. “Right now, we’re trying to just get a place within (a) 45 minute to an hour drive (from Ottawa), if not in the city.
“It’s been so quick. We talked to Cornwall (Wednesday) for the first time. They’re working on trying to open up the ice.”
Chabot believes the a charity game played by the NHLers will be an easy sell.
“I think there’s going to be an interest wherever we go,” he said. “There’s going to be some naysayers, but that’s part of the game, you know.”