Ex-NHLers hit the ice in Mike Keane Winnipeg charity hockey game
Mike Keane Celebrity Hockey Classic brings out NHL greats Doug Gilmour, Paul Coffey, Ray Bourque
Don't tell his boss, but Greg Fettes is missing work to play hockey.
But it's OK, because he runs the company.
Fettes is the president and CEO of 24-7 in Touch, a call centre with an operation in Winnipeg. Running his global company isn't what was on his mind Thursday.
His hockey team had a new member. For just one game, NHL legend Doug Gilmour was his teammate.
Fettes and his team are taking part in the Mike Keane Celebrity Hockey Classic. His team raised the most money, which meant that they had the first draft pick and there was no question which former NHLer they would pick.
"This is more important than anything I can get done at work today,” said Fettes. “It's a great time and I get to hang out with Dougy Gilmour, so that's not too bad.”
When asked how he felt being a first round draft pick, Doug Gilmour was all laughs.
"They were trying to trade me today!" Gilmour said.
All kidding aside, this was a charity event, and it's three-time Stanley Cup champ Mike Keane's event.
It started five years ago with six teams, and has exploded to 18 teams this year. The event is a fundraiser for Continuity Care and the True North Foundation.
The foundation’s new initiative, Project 11, focuses on positive mental health for kids in Grades 5 to 8, and was created in honour of hockey player Rick Rypien, who wore number 11. Rypien took his own life at the age of 27, a month and a half after signing with the Winnipeg Jets.
Underneath his pads, Keane was wearing number 11's shirt.
"It hits home when you lose someone very close to you,” said Keane. “Rick was a very good guy, a very passionate kid and I know that he'd be very proud to put his name on this."
Although Greg Fettes may be star struck surrounded by NHLers, it's the cause that was on his mind. With small children at home, he can't help but think of them.
"A lot of people don't ever realize that it exists in children," Fettes said. "It's startling and something we have to deal with."
Fettes is proud of his team for the money they raised–so is his teammate Gilmour.
Over 300K raised, says Gilmour
"The commitment that the guys from our team, who pledged over $88,000, is remarkable,” said Gilmour.“Really, a day and a half to raise over $300,000, kudos to everybody that came out to support this."
Fettes is already planning next years’ fundraising efforts. His goal for 2016’s event is to raise more than $100,000.
The Mike Keane Celebrity Hockey Classic is a two day event, with the draft on Feb. 18 and the tournament on Feb. 19.
The top fundraising teams pick one player in the draft. This years’ event brought out Doug Gilmour, Ray Bourque, Paul Coffey, Joe Nieuwendyk, Gary Roberts and many more. The event ends with the top fundraising team, 24-7 in Touch, playing against the pro team.