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Primeau biking through Israel to aid disabled veterans

Former NHL center raising money on five-day journey

by Adam Kimelman @NHLAdamK / Deputy Managing Editor

Keith Primeau has been involved in several charities since retiring in 2006 after 15 NHL seasons. His latest endeavor will take him on a bike ride halfway around the world.

Primeau, 46, will participate in Courage in Motion 2018, a five-day cycling trip through Israel to raise money for Beit Halochem, which provides aid to disabled veterans in Israel. Proceeds from the ride will be used toward purchasing cycling equipment, including customized hand bikes and single and tandem bicycles, as well as funding cycling programs.

The ride, which will be held Monday through Friday, will take riders from Mitzpe Ramon, in the southern part of the country, north to Jerusalem. Along the way the group will stop to hike at Masada and swim in the Dead Sea.

"Basically it's 30-60 miles a day and then in the evening you get together and you enjoy one another's company, you intermingle with the veterans," Primeau said. "At the same time also see a part of the world that has a lot of interest. I'm going to visit the Dead Sea, we have the opportunity to go into Jerusalem. For me personally I'm interested in that."

Cycling along with Primeau will be Mark Young and Brian Young, Primeau's partners with Rebox, a Montreal-based company that specializes in reusing boxes rather than recycling them.

"Both my partners are Jewish … one lives in Montreal and has strong ties to the Montreal Jewish community, and the other one has strong ties to the Toronto Jewish community," Primeau said. "The ride is a way for them to give back to [Israel], to help raise awareness and proceeds to help their veterans. I want to support them in their endeavor."

Primeau said the goal for him and the Youngs is to use their trip to raise between $10,000 and $20,000 for Beit Halochem.

This will be Primeau's first trip to Israel, but he's no stranger to traveling. The center played 909 NHL games with the Detroit Red Wings, Hartford Whalers, Carolina Hurricanes and Philadelphia Flyers, retiring Sept. 14, 2006.

Now he and his wife, Lisa, split time between their home in New Jersey and traveling to visit their children, including son Cayden, a Montreal Canadiens goalie prospect who is going into his sophomore season at Northeastern University. Keith and Lisa spent time in Kamloops, British Columbia, over the summer watching Cayden play for the United States at the World Junior Summer Showcase.

Having been retired for 12 years, Primeau said that he is happy as long as he is staying active. How he'll handle five days of riding 30-60 miles remains to be seen. Primeau said he has been doing daily rides of 5-15 miles to prepare.

He is also focused on his journey rather than the times of his rides.

"It's not a competitive ride," he said. "It's not like I have to be at the front of the pack or there's time restrictions to complete it. I'm going for more of the scenic route of my bike ride. I don't plan on looking down at my watch to see how long it's taking me."

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