Former Canucks gear up for Hockey Day in Canada

Vancouver Canucks fan favourites Cliff Ronning, Garry Valk and Dave Babych will lead the Vancouver Canucks Alumni.

What do a Big Irishman and Chinese New Year have in common? They’ll both be part of Richmond Celebrates Hockey Day at the Richmond Olympic Oval this Saturday.

With the Year of the Snake arriving this weekend, Richmond Celebrates Hockey Day will kick off with a colourful Chinese Lion Dance performance on Saturday at 10:30 a.m. Right after that, at 11 a.m., will be the Celebrity Ball Hockey Game featuring Montreal Canadien legend Guy Lafleur and honorary coach, the Big Irishman, Pat Quinn.

A great way to kick off the new B.C. Family Day long weekend, Richmond Celebrates Hockey Day promises “all things hockey under one roof.”  It is a day-long festival of every hockey activity imaginable under the Oval’s iconic, 2-hectare (6.5 acre) pine-wood roof. All activities are free with the exception of the Canucks Alumni game. Donations of non-perishable food items for the Richmond Food Bank will be collected at the event.

A special appearance by Hockey Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur headlines this year’s event. Lafleur led the Montreal Canadiens to five Stanley Cup victories and won numerous individual National Hockey League awards and other accolades. In addition to playing in the Celebrity Ball Hockey Game, Lafleur will participate in a public autograph signing session and other activities.

Vancouver Canucks fan favourites Cliff Ronning, Garry Valk and Dave Babych will lead the Vancouver Canucks Alumni as they hit the Oval ice to take on the Richmond Sockeyes Alumni. Other Vancouver Alumni playing include one-time Canucks draft pick and rising country music star Chad Brownlee, along with original 1970 NHL Canucks Orland Kurtenbach and Ed Hatoum, plus Denis Pederson, Doug Bodger, Larry Melnyk and Garry Monahan. Game time is 4:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 and are available at www.brownpapertickets.com or at the door. Partial proceeds from ticket sales will benefit Richmond KidSport.

Former Canucks Darcy Rota, Tony Tanti, Jack McIlhargey, Orland Kurtenbach, Doug Halward, John Grisdale and Larry Melnyk will be among the participants in the Celebrity Ball Hockey Game, along with other former NHLers, media and members of Richmond City Council. Honorary Coach Pat Quinn will join Richmond Mayor Malcolm Brodie for ceremonial ball drop to kick off the game. An Olympic Gold medal winning coach and Order of Canada recipient, Quinn remains one of the most popular coaches and general managers in Vancouver Canucks history.

Other highlights include:

•Richmond Sockeyes versus the Aldergrove Kodiaks in a Pacific International Junior Hockey League game.

•Appearances and autograph signings by a number NHL legends and special appearances by popular Canucks mascot Fin, Peter Puck and the Green Men.

•Performances by the popular Vancouver Canucks house band and Canadian rock/pop stars Odds.

•Numerous merchandise giveaways, prize draws and fun contests, including chance to win airfare for two to Japan, courtesy of Japan Airlines.

•Hockey marketplace with more than 40 booths featuring collectibles, memorabilia and more.

•Live on site broadcast of Team 1040’s Sports Saturday show hosted by Bob “The Moj” Marjanovich.

•Fun, interactive and informative hockey memorabilia displays from the BC Sports Hall of Fame.

•An interactive fun zone where fans can test their shooting and other hockey skills; mini-hockey for kids.

•A chance to test your skills in table hockey, air hockey, electronic hockey games and more.

Richmond Celebrates Hockey Day runs from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, February 9 at the Richmond Olympic Oval. For more information visit www.richmondoval.ca/hockeyday.

Richmond Celebrates Hockey Day is hosted by the City of Richmond and the Richmond Olympic Oval.

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