“It was great to be back on the ice with the guys, and I think everyone felt the same way,” says Shawn Gramlich, organizer of Ice Breaker Hockey.
The game was a ‘pros vs. Joes’ format, with the two teams sponsored by local companies.
“They (the pros) killed us,” says Gramlich. “They won 10 to five.”
With seven former NHL players and a current WHL player, this was to be expected.
Whitecap Chevrolet Buick GMC sponsored the pro team. Two other celebrities were YouTubers called ‘On the Bench Crew.’
“They kind of stole the show,” says Gramlich. This was both on the ice and in the ‘Hot Stove.’
“They’re pretty funny,” adds Gramlich. Also, when it came to hockey “they are actually good.”
The ‘Hot Stove’ is where the celebrities tell stories. This year, Gene Principe, with Sportsnet, moderated it.
“It went really, really well,” says Gramlich.
The Hot Stove was part of the Big Wreck concert on Saturday, Aug. 28.
The remainder of the Whitecap team were teenagers who had paid to play. The other team, sponsored by Scotiabank, was all local players.
Usually, these players would pay to play, but this year the event was crowd-funded with 10 local companies being the major sponsor.
Most of these companies sent players, says Gramlich.
This is the seventh Ice Breaker Hockey game. Last year, there wasn’t one because of COVID.
The hockey game was part of ‘All-In Slave Lake,’ which was a three-day festival with multiple events Aug. 26 to 28. This is the normal weekend for the Ice Breaker.
Gramlich is involved with three of the All-In organizations – these are Ice Breaker, Slave Lake Regional Tourism Association, and the Slave Lake and District Chamber of Commerce.
As All-In planning progressed, more organizations, businesses, and both the Town of Slave Lake and the M.D. of Lesser Slave River got involved.
The weekend combined raised over $60,000, says Gramlich. “We haven’t decided who gets what. It was a pretty successful weekend, especially, since it was set out to break even.”