Oilers, Flames alumni playing charity game in Falun Dec. 3

If you thought the Montreal Canadiens alumni game in Wetaskiwin last winter was cool, the same organizers have great news...

Goalie John Reid of the Wetaskiwin Selects protects the net for the Montreal Canadians Alumni team during a charity hockey game held Dec. 5

If you thought the Montreal Canadiens alumni game in Wetaskiwin last winter was cool, the same organizers have great news for you. The Battle of Alberta (alumni version) is coming to Falun’s outdoor rink Dec. 3.

Volunteer organizer Neil Brown said the Pigeon Lake Athletic Cultural Educational Society is sponsoring a one-off event, The Falun Outdoor Classic, to benefit both the Falun outdoor rink and the U of A’s Centre of Excellence for Gastrointestinal Inflammation and Immunity Research.

After the success of last year’s Habs game, Brown said the idea for an outdoor game at Falun was hatched; Falun’s rink has authentic boards from the Calgary Saddledome so why not add some NHL-caliber players too? However, the Canadians alumni declined playing an outdoor game.

Instead, Brown said volunteers approached the Calgary Flames alumni, and they quickly said yes. He noted it was a natural progression to ask the Edmonton Oilers to play, and they also agreed. Additionally, Brown said two team Canada Olympic players have agreed to play.

To top things off, locals players who’ve made a donation have secured themselves a chance to play with the alumni and Olympians.

Brown said part of the funds raised through the game will go towards erecting a shelter for the Falun rink, located about half an hour west of Wetaskiwin on Hwy #13.

Another part of the proceeds will go towards supporting the U of A’s Centre of Excellence for Gastrointestinal Inflammation and Immunity Research. Brown said he lost a brother to colon cancer, and Oilers alumni player Fernando Pisani also suffers from colitis.

According to the U of A website, “Gastrointestinal and liver disease affects 60 per cent of Canadians at some time in their lives representing an economic burden of $100 billion dollars annually corresponding to approximately 50 per cent of the total economic burden of illness in Canada! There is an immediate need to understand the genetic and environmental mechanisms and the molecular pathology for these disorders to provide better disease models and translational therapies.”

Brown said donating to the U of A department ensures funds remain in Alberta to benefit Albertans. “The nice thing is, it stays in Alberta,” he said by phone Oct. 24.

The event will begin at 1:30 p.m. with a warm-up, ceremonies and game start at 2 p.m., autographs at 5:15 p.m., dinner at 6 p.m., program at 7 p.m. and dance (with auctions) at 8 p.m.