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Toronto (Sept. 28, 2012) - It was a great day for hockey! The sound of sticks clashing filled Ontario Place. Stray cheers and groans punctuated the Lake Ontario shoreline. It was Road Hockey To Conquer Cancer in Toronto, and it's making a huge difference to cancer research at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the Canadian Cancer Society.
This morning, amidst the unmistakable sounds of hundreds of excited road hockey players playing Canada's game, Dr. Robert Bell, President and Chief Executive Officer of University Health Network, announced that more than 1,400 participants in the second annual Road Hockey To Conquer Cancer event in Toronto had raised $2.2 million.
Road Hockey To Conquer Cancer, a dawn-to-dusk event taking place at Ontario Place in Toronto, had hundreds of teams comprised of 8 to 12 players each, as well as 50 celebrities, working together to raise critical funding for cancer research at the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre and the Canadian Cancer Society.
The first teams played their first of five games at 8:00AM, fuelled by coffee and enthusiasm. Games continued until 5:00 this afternoon. Among the teams participating in Road Hockey To Conquer Cancer was a squad comprised of local mayors, including the mayors of Brampton, Oakville, Stouffville, Markham, Orangeville, East Gwillimbury, Halton Hills, King Township, Aurora, Georgina and coached by Her Worship Hazel McCallion of Mississauga.
Celebrities were drafted by top fundraising teams. James Duthie of TSN was selected first overall and went to the ONRoute Roadies. Others participating in today's event include current NHLers P.K. Subban, Jake Gardiner, Michael Del Zotto, David Clarkson, Joel Ward and Matt Frattin, former NHL stars Darryl Sittler, Marty McSorley, Eddie Shack and Dave Schultz, former NHL coaches Mike Keenan and Gary Green, referees Bruce Hood, Bryan Lewis and Ray Scapinello, TV star Alan Thicke and Olympians Rosie MacLennan (trampoline), Melissa Tancredi (soccer), Curt Harnett (cycling), Elizabeth Manley (figure skating), Jennifer Botterill (hockey) and Sami Jo Small (hockey).
Between games, participants, crew and volunteers enjoyed food and beverages provided by Boston Pizza and Longo's, as well as massage therapy, live music and interactive games.
A highlight of the day took place at 1:30 with the commencement of the E.J. McGuire Memorial All-Star Game. The contest featured celebrities facing off against top fundraisers on a feature pad for all participants to observe. The game commemorates E.J. McGuire, who served as the director of NHL Central Scouting from 2005 until his passing due to cancer in April 2011.
During the game, trophies were presented to the top fundraising team (the ONRoute Roadies, having raised a staggering $73,993), top individual fundraiser (Patrick Keeley, who raised a whopping $38,045) and the top corporate fundraiser was Hatch Consulting, who raised an amazing total of $213,404. It should be noted that 12-year-old Patrick Hafenberg, who recently lost his father to cancer, raised just under $15,000 and was the top Future Fundraiser in the program's inaugural year. His father, Sven Hafenberg, had been registered to participate with his team from Hatch.
In the two years since its inception in 2011, Road Hockey To Conquer Cancer will have raised more than $4.7 million to benefit The Princess Margaret and the Canadian Cancer Society. This year, the event has also expanded to include not only Toronto, but Vancouver and Edmonton as well.
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