Former NHL players return to the ice for Alzheimer’s fundraiser

Guy Carbonneau
Guy Carbonneau

Former Montreal Canadiens captain Guy Carbonneau is among the former National Hockey League (NHL) players scheduled to take part in the inaugural Pro-Am for Alzheimer’s in Montreal, benefiting the Jewish General Hospital (JGH).

To be held next June, the event is described as Canada’s largest charity hockey tournament. Funds raised will support research and treatment of the disease.

Among the other NHL alumni confirmed are Paul Coffey, Denis Savard, Shayne Corson and Chris Nilan.

“We are thrilled to have legendary players participate,” said Myer Bick, president and CEO of the Jewish General Hospital Foundation, “and we are honoured and inspired by their commitment to supporting this crucial cause.”

JGH, he added, is a leader in research into dementia, which afflicts 125,000 Quebecers, and in care for its sufferers.

“Funds raised through the pro-am are put to use immediately to attract and retain world-leading doctors, scientists and researchers to the JGH,” Bick said, “and to implement the most promising research and treatments for Alzheimer’s disease.”

The two-day event will offer hockey enthusiasts of all skill levels the opportunity to lace up their skates and team up with former professionals.

It will begin with a draft night June 2 at the Forum de Montréal in the AMC complex, when the top fundraising teams receive first pick of NHL alumni to join them.

On June 3 and 4, the action moves to Les 4 Glaces in Brossard where participants will play three round robin games.

Additionally, the two highest fundraising teams will compete in the championship game, and the top 20 individual fundraisers and alumni will compete in the all-star game.

“I have participated in the Toronto pro-am for the past six years and I know our fundraising dollars are making a meaningful impact in the lives of those currently battling the disease and in improving Alzheimer’s care for future generations,” said Rich Parry of Thornhill, Ont.

“Fortunately, there is no history of the disease in my family, but through the pro-am I’ve learned that it can happen to anyone.”

For the past 10 years, a Pro-Am for Alzheimer’s has benefited Baycrest Health Sciences in Toronto. This past spring’s tournament raised $2 million, bringing the total over its history to $27 million.

Parry added that as a “huge” Habs fan – yes, they exist in Toronto – he is thrilled that pro-am has expanded to Montreal.