Like the ghost of Christmas past, the spirit of the Rossland Warriors hockey team will return to the Rossland Arena Wednesday for its annual Boxing Day Classic.
The Classic has raised about $16,000 for local chairites the past two years thanks to supporters such as Barrett Jackman who has donated signed St. Louis Blues jerseys and a number of hockey sticks.
This year, KidSport Trail gave the Classic organizers a signed Shea Weber Nashville Predator jersey that the NHL team’s scout Glen Sanders provided for KidSport last year.
“We thought how are we going to do this thing (the jersey) some justice,” said Gord Menelaws, KidSport director. “So we talked about it at our meeting, and we thought what better way to give back to the Boxing Day Classic then to donate it to them, let them raffle it off at their event and see what they can raise.”
The Classic was the first organization to support KidSport when it came to Trail two years ago, and the reciprocal gesture will only benefit both parties.
About 80 players lace up the skates and are divided into teams, that play a round-robin and a playoff to crown the eventual Classic champs. An entry fee of $25 helps cover costs, and guarantees at least two games and as many as five depending on results.
“It started off with just a couple teams, and a bunch of guys having fun, but it’s blossomed into quite the event now,” said Classic organizer Gord Aiken.
A whole community has pitched in to make the annual Boxing Day fundraiser a success, and they encourage residents to come and help support the worthy cause. Volunteers will be on hand with food, refreshments, merchandise, a 50/50 draw, and a raffle table rife with prizes courtesy of local businesses.
“We always encourage everyone to come out and watch and support the raffle, and all the profits from everything go to charity,” said Aiken. “It’s a great place to come and hang out with friends and meet, see people you haven’t seen over the Christmas holidays.”
This year’s proceeds go again to the Canadian Cancer Society and Trail KidSport, and the Classic will also provide $500 scholarships to Rossland Secondary and J. L. Crowe Secondary Schools.
Jackman played in the Classic during the last NHL lockout in 2005, but any chance of him returning for this one might be slim says Aiken.
“We’ve had all kinds of people over the years, people that can really play hockey, and some that can barely skate,” he added. “It turns out to be pretty decent hockey . . . but it would be nice to see Barrett out there.”
The puck drops at 8 a.m. with the final usually going around 6 p.m. at the Rossland Arena.