|Darcy Tucker was keeping it out of the gutters
by Rebecca Virgin
June 1, 2006
(TORONTO) - Once again Doug Gilmour put out an all-call to his celebrity friends and they showed up by the dozens to help raise money for his children's charities.
The third annual Doug Gilmour and Friends Celebrity Bowl took place Thursday and once again proved successful raising more than $100,000 for Growing Great Kids, a charity that supports Kids Help Phone, the Hospital for Sick Childre and Breakfast for learning -- a program that provides breakfast for school kids with help from A&P Canada.
"It's just such a family thing -- you know athletes want to be musicians and musicians want to be athletes," said host Doug Gilmour. "There are a lot of different people here, different characters and it's for a great cause plus they get the opportunity to meet a lot of kids here and it makes it very special."
Classes of kids from Flemingdon Park Public School were on hand to bowl with the corporate teams who bought lanes, and of course a wide variety of celebrities including stars like Darcy Tucker and Donovan Bailey.
"Well I'm practicing for the PBA, I've decided that I'm going to come out of retirement and join the bowling tour," said Bailey. "No, I'm here supporting Doug Gilmour - I mean Doug is a good friend and obviously we're here trying to raise as much money as possible to support the kids."
One thing that aids the fundraising is that the event is widely received as something different than your ordinary dinners and golf tournaments.
"It's nice to do something a little bit different than just a golf tournament, to be out here bowling with a number of awesome people and it also allows us to incorporate the kids in the bowling as well," said former Leaf Steve Thomas. "You can't very well do that with the golf in the summer but this is a unique experience here for everybody and it's a great day."
And who doesn't love to bowl every once in a while? Well, maybe not Jeff O'Neill.
"I can't bowl right now because my shoulder's too sore," said O'Neill, who showed up anyways. "I got one (pin) in my first shot and the little girl who is like six years old got two to beat me so I'm not that good right now with my wrong hand."
Good bowlers or not about 50 celebrities showed up to lend their time and star power for the cause. Hockey players, actors, musicians and performers all in one bowling alley certainly created a buzz and helped keep the money flowing for the cause.
"One thing that we are certainly cognizant of as pro athletes is the fact that our impact extends far beyond the playing surface," said New York Ranger goaltender Kevin Weekes. "We know that we're able to impact a lot of people's lives in a lot of different ways and we try to help out where possible. It's always good when we can lend our celebrity to a good cause, something that has greater significance."
Everyone in attendance said that when they got the call from Doug Gilmour that they couldn't say no.
"Doug, with the type of person he is, he was same type of player. Anything that he goes ahead and starts to do, he does it with all his heart and you can see that with the kind of turn out he has here," said Mike Kitchen, head coach of the St. Louis Blues. "He's got a lot of support from a lot of celebrities so I think it's just terrific that Doug's doing something like this and giving back to the community."
Gilmour hopes to hold the event again next year and he also has grander plans to start similar events in many different cities, with different celebrities across the country.