The winningest hockey team in NHL history skated to one more win, right in Nanaimo.
The Montreal Canadiens alumni team put on a high-scoring show for fans at Frank Crane Arena on Sunday, defeating the Nurses 4 Kids Nanaimo team 10-6.
Hall of famer Guy Lafleur coached the Habs to the win. The key to victory?
“I guess it’s their talent – they didn’t really work hard,” he joked afterward.
“They were having fun. It’s a fun game. We’re very happy to be here and trying to help an organization to raise as much money as they can.”
The Canadiens lineup included Stephane Richer, Sergio Momesso, Patrice Brisebois, Mathieu Dandenault, Jocelyn Lemieux and others and the ex-pros showed off their skills with nifty passes and pretty goals.
“It was a tough game physically, mentally,” panned Richer.
“You know what? The bottom line is it’s for a great cause. It seemed like everybody had a good time in the stands; I think that was fun.”
Nanaimo Minor Hockey Association players gave the Nurses 4 Kids team a much-needed line change in the second period and created some offence.
“You could see some good talent out there. Big guys, too, for their age,” said Lafleur. “So you never know. One day, these kids, if they’d like to play in the NHL, if they have the potential to do it, then why not? I wish the best of luck to all the kids to pursue their goals.”
Richer said he saw some potential from the youngsters, and said he could tell they were having fun.
“You could see their eyes, they were smiling, they were laughing,” he said. “I wish, at their age, I could have been on the ice with the Rocket Richard or Henri Richard.”
The alumni said they enjoy travelling around the country and meeting fans. Sometimes the travel is tough, they said.
“But if we can make some kids happy and make some moms and dads happy and put some smiles on kids’ faces, we’re doing our job,” said Richer.
Lafleur said being part of the alumni team helps to remind players how important the game is to fans.
“They have to be close to their fans and they have to give something back to society at the same time,” he said.
ICE CHIPS … Nurses 4 Kids Nanaimo tries to raise money for both the hospital foundation and for post-secondary scholarships. For information about making a donation, please click here.