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Old goalie extinguishes the flames

by Staff Writer / Vancouver Canucks

"Captain Kirk" waited until the final minute to secure the one-goal victory for Team White at the 2014 Canuck Alumni "Skills Scrimmage," the warm-up act for Sunday's (Dec. 14th) annual Vancouver Canucks NHL Skills competition at Rogers Arena.

It was starting to look like the contest would end in a 2-2 tie. Team White held their 2-0 lead past the midway point of the half-hour tilt, until West Vancouver Deputy Fire Chief Randy Heath - a one-time member of the New York Rangers - got things going for the boys in Team Blue with a pair of goals, the last one unassisted when he stripped the puck off a Team White defender and skated in all alone to beat goalie Terry Bingley. No 'professional courtesy' here; "Binger" is a full-time firefighter with the Burnaby Fire Department. But "Heater's" heroics were all for naught, with former Canuck goaltender-turned-forward Kirk McLean saving the best for last, ripping a wrist shot into the Blues' net with under a minute to go, giving Team White their 3-2 win.

The afternoon featured the on-ice appearance of a couple of rookies from the music industry; Canadian Country Music Association award-winner Aaron Pritchett winging his way back from a Saturday-night concert in Halifax just to lace 'em up for the Blues and skate alongside Craig Northey of the Canucks 'house band,' Odds. There were also plenty of well-known names from the Canuck history books in uniform for the annual appearance: former captains like referee Chris Oddleifson, coach and "Ring of Honour" inductee Orland Kurtenbach, former goalie McLean, forwards Tony Tanti, Moe Lemay, B.J. (Blair) MacDonald, Denis Pederson, John Craighead, Gregg C. Adams, Ken Berry and 1970 'original Canuck' Ed Hatoum, along with one-time D-Men Dave Babych, Jyrki Lumme, Garth Butcher and Bob Murray.

And there was no shortage of Alumni trophy-winners on hand for the event. In addition to Memorial Cup winners Heath (Portland-1983) and Berry (New Westminster-1978), the inter-squad roster included Mark Lofthouse (New Westminster-1977) 1982 Portland MemCup finalist Garry Nylund, Toronto's first pick in the NHL draft, taken third overall the following year and the hulking Wayne van Dorp, who had his name added to the Stanley Cup when the Edmonton Oilers won the title in 1987.

Rounding out the squad, NHL alumnus Craig Redmond, broadcaster Dave Tomlinson and actor Jackson Davies joined Canadian National Team veteran Bruce Brill, once highly-touted NHL and WHA draft choice Greg Neeld and former BCHL head coach Sean Crowther for a few circuits around the frozen pond, to the delight of the Sunday-afternoon crowd ... while one-time Canadian National Team star forward Doug Deacon looked on from behind the bench.

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