The Victoria Grizzlies are assisting with the Umbrella Society fundraiser at The Q Centre on Feb. 10, which features the Montreal Canadiens Alumni team against local firefighters. (Goldstream Gazette file photo)

Canadiens Alumni face local firefighters for Umbrella Society

Feb. 10 hockey game at The Q Centre helps men on the road to recovery

Rick Stiebel/News staff

Fill the house with Habs fans and help purchase a house for men on the road to recovery.

That’s the motivation for a fundraiser hosted by the Umbrella Society at The Q Centre featuring the Montreal Canadiens Alumni hockey team against a team of firefighters from Greater Victoria.

The event is new territory for the Umbrella Society, noted Sharlene Law, the Society’s executive director. “It’s our first ever fundraiser, so we decided to jump in with both feet and really go for it,” said Law, who has been with the Umbrella Society for 10 years, the past two and a half as executive director. “An event like this should appeal to the whole family, and we’ve added a lot to the game to make it very family friendly.”

READ ALSO: Victoria, Saanich police team beats fire department in hockey game

That included a game of musical chairs on the ice during the first intermission that features a collection Victoria’s most popular mascots in their colourful costumes. “The mascots will be interacting with kids throughout the game as well,” Law added. Popular personality Cliff LeQuesne from The Q, the event’s media sponsor, will handle announcing chores, and B.C. Premier John Horgan will drop the puck to kick off the festivities. “It’s kinda cool having the premier there,” Law said. “We’ve also put together some amazing items for a silent auction, and there’s a 50-50 draw.” Auction items include a painting by a well-known artist of legendary Montreal goaltender Ken Dryden, a jersey autographed by members of the Vegas Golden Knights National Hockey League team, and some great sports memorabilia. The Q has also stepped up with a draw for some lucky fan to serve as an assistant coach.

One of the highlights is an incredible opportunity to play the game with the Montreal Canadiens Alumni in a personalized jersey through a live auction, Law said. Enter your bid at “The Thrill of a Lifetime” link at umbrellasociety.ca.

READ ALSO: Cop looks to build community legacy with hockey game

Hall of Famer Steve Shutt, part of the Canadiens powerhouse team that won four consecutive Stanley Cups from 1976 to 1979, and Patrice Brisebois, a member of the 1993 Canadiens, the last team from Canada to hoist the Holy Grail, make up part of the Montreal Alumni squad, with the final roster revealed on January 10 on the Umbrella Society’s website.

Law can’t say enough about the Victoria Grizzlies efforts in sponsoring the event, which includes a reduced price for the Grizzlies game that follows the Canadiens Alumni game as part of a package deal available for both games. “None of this would be possible without the tremendous support we’ve received from the Grizzlies,” law said. “They have been truly amazing partners.”

Law is also extremely grateful to Langford Fire Rescue Capt. Brian Bell for his efforts in organizing the team that will include firefighters from across the Greater Victoria area. ‘“Brian was super excited to put a team together. Langford Fire Rescue has been a real partner. it’s a great opportunity for us to work together. So many first responders are impacted by the people we are trying to help.” Residents from the society’s recovery houses will be helping out at the event.

The Umbrella Society is a non-profit founded in 2000 dedicated to assisting people and youth with addiction and mental health issues in the Capital Region and the Gulf Islands. “We work with anyone who has an abuse problem,” Law explained. “We get referrals from hospitals, the community, prisons,, addiction clinics and self referrals.”

The society, which obtains its funding from Island Health, the United Way, the province, grants and donations, has four different programs, including outreach, housing, counselling and groups. “We work with families though a counsellor who’s trained to specifically for that,” Law said. “All of our services are free, with the exception of housing.” The Umbrella Society operates four different recovery houses, all of which are rented. Money raised at the Alumni game will go toward purchasing a second stage recovery house for men.

The event takes place Sunday, February 10 at 1 p.m.. Tickets for the Canadiens Alumni game are $20 per person, with packages that include the Grizzlies game at 3 p.m. for $30. A limited number of VIP tickets that include a meet and greet with members of the Montreal Canadiens alumni team are available as well at umbrellasociety.ca

rick.stiebel@goldstreamgazette.com


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