Calgary, AB - It came right down to the wire but the Townsend Tigers are still the 26 time defending champions of the Wheelchair Hockey Challenge after defeating the Calgary Flames 10-9 Wednesday.
This season’s Flames roster included Craig Conroy, Anders Eriksson, Eric Godard, David Hale, Matthew Lombardi, Curtis McElhinney, David Moss, Eric Nystrom, Dion Phaneuf, Wayne Primeau, Robyn Regehr, Mark Smith, Alex Tanguay and Rhett Warrener.
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"We’re definitely having a good time out there, it’s fun to help the kids and put smiles on their faces," said forward Matthew Lombardi.
"I sure hope we can bring a little excitement here for these kids."
The Calgary Flames were not able to break their unbeaten streak despite a hat-trick from Flames defenceman Dion Phaneuf.
The win extends the Townsend Tigers undefeated streak to twenty-six years.
The Wheelchair Hockey Challenge is a tradition for all involved. For the past twenty-six years the Calgary Flames have gone to the Gordon Townsend School in the Alberta Children’s Hospital for the Floor Hockey game. It is a favorite among the student and the Flames.
"Its an opportunity for the Flames to engage and have an impact with the kids who receive care at the hospital," explained Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation President and CEO Steve Hoscheit.
"This is a tough place to be, but you just watch the kids light up when they hear about this event every year."
Of course, “off the ice”, the Flames continue to be winners with the Alberta Children’s Hospital. The Flames Foundation for Life and the Rotary Club have teamed up to donate $2.5 Million to help build Alberta’s first hospice and respite care facility for children. Rotary / Flames House will help hundreds of families needing specialized help for their very sick and terminally ill children.
"It shows how lucky we are to have our health," said Dion Phaneuf. "These kids that are here, they’re very sick kids, so to bring a smile to their face for the day is very special to us."