A big gala will be held in October to raise money for memorial scholarships in honour of the four St. Albert hockey players killed in the Humboldt Broncos bus crash.
The Jersey Gala will be held on Oct. 26 at the Enjoy Centre in St. Albert. Organizers expect 650 attendees and hope to raise at least $500,000 for the cause.
“This is truly one-of-a kind in Canada,” Nolan Crouse, chair of the organizing committee, said. “The idea behind the Jersey Gala is to encourage everyone attending to wear a jersey — one that has significance for each attendee.
“The Humboldt Remembrance Committee believes this is a great way to honour everything that we love about hockey, about the Broncos, and about the initiative we have underway.”
The gala will raise money to start scholarship funds in recognition of the four Humboldt Broncos who went through the St. Albert hockey system: Logan Hunter, Jaxon Joseph, Conner Lukan and Stephen Wack.
“We believe each jersey also has a story to tell,” Crouse said.
“Together, all the jerseys worn to the gala will represent in a powerful way our memories of the young men and our collective memory and celebration of hockey.”
Two familiar faces will also be in attendance.
“The committee is pleased two extraordinary Canadians have agreed to be part of the Jersey Gala,” Crouse announced on Tuesday. “Mr. Ron MacLean will serve as host and master of ceremonies and Mr. Peter Mansbridge will serve as the keynote speaker.”
Both were more than happy to be part of this fundraising event, Crouse said, and both refused any kind of payment.
When asked how easy or difficult it was to secure the two famous Canadians for the event, Crouse replied: “remarkably easy.”
LISTEN BELOW: Nolan Crouse speaks with the 630 CHED Afternoon News
After reaching out to MacLean through a mutual friend, the Hockey Night in Canada host texted back: “I’m all in and it’s on me.”
Watch below: Nolan Crouse talks about the families’ reaction to the gala plans and how two Canadian celebrities were more than happy to participate.
Crouse said the plans received the seal of approval from the players’ families.
“It’s been absolutely phenomenal support by the parents of the four boys all along, without question.
“We’re doing this to honour four hockey players who played in the St. Albert system who were killed. We can never lose track of why we’re doing this.
“This is also a great way for us to build our hockey community stronger and build our community stronger. It’s trying to turn something that was tragic into a long-term sustainable scholarship fund… but they’re all about the memorial of four hockey players.”
The committee has two other memorial projects in the works: four park benches that pay tribute to the four St. Albert players and some artwork for the local arena.
“What I call stick art,” Crouse explained, “which is going to be located inside the Akinsdale Arena. Four hockey sticks that are also going to be part of the memorial and long-term… in the Akinsdale Arena where the boys played hockey.”
Organizers expect the Oct. 26 event will also include several “prominent former Oilers” and a “hot stove” hosted by McLean.
If people are interested in supporting the cause, they can do so in a few ways: buy tickets or a table to the gala, donate items for the silent auction, volunteer their time or services, or donate financially.
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