The future of hockey in London will be getting a big boost this June.
Hockey Canada was in London, Tuesday to announce the three honourees being added to the Order of Hockey in Canada. The three honourees in that will be celebrated in June are Mike Babcock, Danielle Goyette and Ryan Smyth. They are joining a group of 21 honourees, amoung them are NHL legends Wayne Gretzky, Steve Yzerman, Gordie Howe and Mario Lemieux. The initiative was created in 2012 to celebrate individuals for their outstanding contributions or service to the growth of the game and development of hockey in Canada.
This will be the Hockey Canada Foundation’s 15th annual Golf and Gala, this year happening at the London Hunt and Country Club, June 18-19. Hockey Canada always donates 50% of proceeds from the Golf and Gala to the host city. Last year’s Golf and Gala raised $650,000 in Saskatoon and the initiative has raised around $4 million since 2009.
Hosting Tuesday’s events was CEO of Hockey Canada, Tom Renney and Jeff Macoun, chair of the 2018 Golf and Gala steering committee. Jeff Macoun was excited talking about how the money raised will help the London area. The funds raised will focus on assisting families in financial need and give a boost to local hockey programs such as Canadian Tire First Shift and Try Hockey.
“This isn’t about developing the next NHL or Team Canada star, it’s about making sure that all Canadian kids have the opportunity to learn from the game.” Macoun said, “Hockey teaches us about more than on-ice skills; the life-lessons we take away from the game help us at home, within our community, and right into the boardrooms and offices of Corporate Canada.”
Although none of the honourees were present at Tuesday’s announcement, Ryan Smyth and Danielle Goyette were listening and answering questions by phone. Both were asked of their favourite Canadian hockey moment and both pointed to the their Olympic gold medal from the 2002 Olympics.
“The 2002 Olympics with Gretzky and company heading it up. Mario Lemiuex, Joe Sakic, Steve Yzerman as great leaders and great icons.” Smyth recalled “There’s no better feeling than beating your rivals (USA) down in Salt Lake City.”
This year’s events in June will kick off with a Gala dinner at the London Convention Centre, followed by golf the next day at the exclusive Redtail Golf Club and the London Hunt and Country Club.