Maple Ridge’s elite play for charity

The team with two NHL defencemen beat the team with one in the second annual reunion shinny game that has ...

Brad Hunt of the Edmonton Oilers rushes the puck through the neutral zone during the Hockey Classic charity game on Saturday.

The team with two NHL defencemen beat the team with one in the second annual reunion shinny game that has become known as the Charity Classic.

Team Bartley and its namesake Victor Bartley of the Nashville Predators had some surprise reinforcements in the person of Swiss defenceman Mirco Muller, who played half a season for the San Jose Sharks, and has a friend in town.

Bartley and Brad Hunt were the local favourites.

Bartley, who has 111 NHL games with the Preds, might be a stay-at-home defenceman in the NHL, but he looked like he could score whenever he wanted to on Saturday.

Hunt still needs a breakthrough campaign to build on his NHL resume of 14 games, including 11 with the Edmonton Oilers, but he’s too good to leave on their farm team – he was an AHL all-star with 51 points in 62 games.

They led teams of players with university and junior hockey experience in a display of the best hockey talent from the city.

It is a no-hit event with the same feel as an all-star game. But organizer Ben Payne, who enjoyed a great campaign in the German pro leagues with the Zweibrucken Hornets, was one of the guys who would get the puck and take off, pushing the pace to put on a show for the hundreds of fans.

“It was great – good tempo and a lot of good talent from Maple ridge,” said Payne.

Last year he and Bartley organized the game as a fundraiser for Crohn’s and Colitis. They raised $5,000, and this year they built on that, upping the total to more than $6,500.

Eli Pears won a hockey stick autographed by the Nashville Predators, and there was other outstanding memorabilia up for auction, including jerseys signed by Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews and Montreal Canadiens star P.K. Subban.

Paul Craik won the 50/50 raffle prize of $367, and then donated it back to the cause.

“It went extremely well,” said Payne. “Much more professional and smooth.”

He said the kids of Ridge Meadows Minor Hockey enjoy watching local hockey idols play, and next year he would like to get them more involved, perhaps with an afternoon ball hockey game.

“A lot of guys are already looking forward to next year’s game.”

 

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