The lockout has obviously given NHL players a lot of extra free time. Some have chosen to keep their skills sharp in the European leagues or were eligible to either play in the minors or one of the Canadian Hockey Leagues. Others have decided to take this opportunity to give something back by playing in charity games.
One example is the First Assist Charity Classic tour, which will play games in five small Canadian cities, starting with Cornwall, Ontario on Monday, according to the Ottawa Citizen.
“Under the circumstances, I think it’s a great gesture,” Cornwall Mayor Bob Kilger said. “I give credit to the players to doing something positive and trying to make the best of what’s happening.”
If the name Kilger sounds familiar, it might be because his son Chad played in 714 career NHL games with the Anaheim Ducks, the original Winnipeg Jets and then Phoenix Coyotes when they moved, Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers, Montreal Canadiens, and Toronto Maple Leafs. On top of that, Bob is a former NHL referee.
They will be playing in Thunder Bay, Ontario on Nov. 12 before heading to Yellowknife, Inuvik and Hay River of the Northwest Territories.
Former NHL player and coach John Chabot is organizing the event and sees it as an opportunity for fans that normally wouldn’t get to go to an NHL game to see some players in person.
The tour will include Montreal’s Brian Gionta, Pittsburgh’s Tyler Kennedy, Columbus’ Derick Brassard, Winnipeg’s Grant Clitsome, and a handful of Ottawa Senators players including Chris Neil.