By Eugene Buchanan
Steamboat Springs — While the Detroit Red Wings alumni edged out the Chicago Blackhawks alumni 14-10 at the second annual Steamboat NHL Alumni Classic March 28, the real winner, apart from the full house of fans in attendance, was Steamboat Springs youth hockey, which received more than $30,000 from the record-setting fundraising weekend.
#“It was a super fun weekend and way better than we expected,” said event co-organizer and Steamboat Sailors high school hockey coach Chris Campanelli. “We had great support from the whole community. We try to roll out the red carpet for these guys whenever they come here, but it’s the friendliness of the community that brings them back.”
#In all, between record ticket and concession sales for the NHL alumni exhibition game, silent auction and benefit concert by Todd Mohr of Big Head Todd and the Monsters at the Strings Music Pavilion, the fundraiser raised a record amount for Steamboat Springs youth hockey.
#The weekend kicked off with a Sled Hockey exhibition by the Colorado Avalanche Sled Hockey team versus the NHL Alumni, as well as a skills competition and youth practice led by NHL greats.
#NHL roster notables in attendance included Jon Finstrom, Jiri Fischer, Petr Klima, Lorne Knauft, Joe Kocur, Kevin Miller, Craig Valassis, Eddie Mio and George Bowman of the Red Wings, and Jack O'Callahan, Reid Simpson, Peter Marsh, Phil Russell, Brian Noonan, Keith Carney, José Charbonneau, Sergei Krivokrasov, Reid Simpson, Bill Mullins and Wayne Presley of the Blackhawks.
#“It was an amazing weekend for Steamboat hockey,” said co-organizer Kerry Shea, acknowledging the support of local sponsors as well as the Red Wings and Blackhawks alumni for making the weekend such a success. “We exceeded our all expectations, including our fundraising goal of over $30,000 donated to Steamboat youth hockey. We’re excited to continue the event for years to come.”
#After a weekend of fly fishing for trout, snowmobiling, skiing, fine dining and, yes, a little hockey, you can bet the former NHL stars will make a return to Howelsen Ice Arena as well.
#“Once again it was an amazing event, with super hospitality,” said Presley, whose 14-year NHL career included stints with the Blackhawks, Sabres, Rangers and Maple Leafs. “It’s one of the best events we attend all year.”
On Monday, March 9, Chicago Blackhawk Players, Coaches and Management and members of the Illinois hockey community gathered together for the 28th Annual High School Scholarship Awards Luncheon to recognize the three high school recipients of the Keith Magnuson Blackhawk Alumni Scholarship Award – Joseph Orecchio of St. Viator, William Spell of Brother Rice and Margot Werner of Latin School of Chicago. The Blackhawk Alumni Association has now awarded 91 scholarships totaling over $1,200,000 in education for High School players in Illinois.
Also honored in memoriam were Sal Ferrara (Gunzo Award), Paul Ruck (Chief Blackhawk Award) and Clint Reif (Chief Blackhawk Award). Cliff Koroll, Chicago Blackhawk Alumni Association President, stated, “Sal Ferrara was a close friend to all and a huge supporter of our Alumni and the Blackhawks. There is none more generous than Sal. He provided great leadership for us as Chairman of our Advisory Board to make it one, if not the best, Alumni in the League. Paul, an Off-ice Official and Clint, an Assistant Trainer, were both associated with the Blackhawks for several years and will be very sorely missed.”
In 1987, a group of retired Blackhawk players got together to discuss their future in the Chicago community. Their main objective was to "give something back" to Chicago and to the sport of hockey. In that meeting they developed a three-fold mission statement for the non-profit Chicago Blackhawk Alumni Association.