'Lupe' woulda been proud.
It was billed as Powell River's "Game of the Year" and - when they unveiled his huge portrait high above one end of the Powell River Recreation Complex last Saturday night (Jan. 30th) - many of Gary Lupul's former Canuck Alumni colleagues were on the ice to join in the thunderous applause from a packed arena. Gary's daughters and dad were also in the ice-level spotlight as were the Powell River Regals Alumni, whom the Canuck Alumni played - and beat, 8-4 - later that night.
It was all in a good cause. The Regals Hockey Society has been working hard to create a program that will raise funds to get more youngsters involved in the nation's favourite sport, allowing perhaps a few of them to follow the same career path as that followed by "The Pride of Powell River." To help things along, Canuck Alumni captain Kirk McLean presented a donation of $1,000 on behalf of the Alumni to the Abundance Initiative, as it has now become known, run by the Powell River Minor Hockey Association. Every year, kids who want to sign up but whose parents may not have the money available, will now be able to qualify for a zero-cost minor hockey registration and the provision of selected equipment, allocated on the basis of individual needs.
But back to the Saturday-night event. It was something of a homecoming for three of the boys from the visiting team; Alumni captain Chris Oddleifson, defenceman Jeff Bandura and team trainer Gerry "Slammer" Dean, whose names were on the roster sheet when the Vancouver Canucks took their 1979 NHL training camp to Powell River for the first time.
As we said, 'Lupe' woulda been proud.Story by John Ashbridge.