Country music star Gord Bamford, left, has a huge smile as he stands with an NHL legend Duane Sutter - celebrity coach of Team Bamford - who spent 11 years in the NHL, which included winning four straight Stanley Cups with the New York Islanders.

Bamford Charity Hockey game turns from fun into charity contest

Gord Bamford pleased with Ponoka’s support to hockey game

A normally private and fun hockey game quickly went viral and drew a lot of support from the public.

Canadian country music star, and central Alberta native, Gord Bamford hosted what’s being called the first ever Christmas Charity Classic on Dec. 21 at the Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex. The game featured Team Bamford versus Team Halbert — Bamford’s business partner — both filled with a few former professional hockey players and personal friends.

However, Bamford didn’t expect that his normally private and usually casual hockey game would grow into the event that it did.

“I started having these games a few years back just as a way to get together with the guys,” Bamford said, noting the games stopped for a couple years when the family lived in Nashville.

“I decided that since we came back…that I would get back into having the game again. Since I’ve been to the (Ponoka) Stampede a lot and I loved it here, I thought this would be a good fit.”

And initially, Bamford thought the event would be just the normal low key fun game, but things changed once word got out about the contest on social media. It was announced and transformed into a charity event with donations for the Ponoka Food Bank being taken by the Lacoka bantam girls hockey squad.

“Typically, this was not that big, but it’s great that people here in Ponoka want to come out and that they really supported the food bank with all of the donations,” Bamford stated.

“The support shown was great and the guys had some good fun out there playing. However, there is no doubt we were out there to win,” he joked.

Along with Bamford, there were a few other notable celebrities including recent former NHL players Curtis Glencross and Colin Fraser, as well as successful NHLers Duane and Brian Sutter, who acted as coaches for the two teams.

“Being part of this is very special. Gord helps us out with our many charities and many other things, so anytime we can help him out it’s what we try to do,” said Brian, who played 12 years with St. Louis Blues before onto being the head coach for four separate NHL clubs — St. Louis, Boston, Calgary and Chicago. He has also coached the former Bentley Generals and is now with the Innisfail Eagles.

As for Glencross, who retired at the end of the 2014-15 season after nine years in the NHL, being able to play in this event is more about being with friends.

“Me and Gord are great friends and we support each other’s charity causes plus this seems to be one of the only times I am able to get out to be with the guys,” Glencross said, who works in sales in Calgary while also working for several local charities.

“And this is what I miss the most about being away from the game, being able to hang out in the team atmosphere so this is such a great thing to be a part of.”

Meanwhile, Colin Fraser — who played four seasons with the Red Deer Rebels before going onto an eight year NHL career and getting his name on the Stanley Cup twice — was impressed with the support this ‘fun beer league game’ got from the community.

“When I was asked if I wanted to play, I didn’t know it would turn into what happened here,” said Fraser.

“This was a really good skate and definitely fun to play. I love being a part of this and the crowd certainly made this more fun. I think Gord will have to maybe look at making this an annual thing.”

For Bamford’s part, due to the support shown by the community, he is certainly considering it.

Just to note, Bamford scored once in the second frame as his squad hung on to win by a goal while several boxes filled with food along with a number of cash donations were collected for the Ponoka Food Bank.

A final total raised was not immediately available.

charity hockeygord bamfordPonoka Food Bank

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Curtis Glencross, left, former NHLer and star with the Calgary Flames from 2008 to 2015, looks to take a feed as part of Team Halbert with Team Bamford’s Joe Vandermeer, who played in the minors and currently is with the Chinook League’s Innisfail Eagles, defending his net. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Team Halbert coach Brian Sutter gives some words of advice and praise to Nash Bamford, Gord’s son, during the second period of the charity game.

Recently retired and former NHLer Coin Fraser stands listening to Gord Bamford sing the national anthem at the Christmas Charity Classic on Dec. 21 in Ponoka. Photo by Jordie Dwyer

Just Posted

COVID-19 recovered cases continue to rise in Alberta

69 more recoveries Tuesday, bringing the total to 6,048

Drug trafficking charges laid in central Alberta investigation

Investigation included Ponoka, Brazeau, Leduc counties

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Ponoka County may see big road repair bill

Elkhorn Road could cost upwards of $300,000 to fix

Car slides off flooded Sunken Bridge

Unknown why driver drove over bridge twice

VIDEO: Procession to honour Snowbirds Capt. Jennifer Casey comes to Halifax

Snowbirds service member died in a crash in Kamloops one week ago

Alberta legislature to resume with COVID work, other bills, sitting into July

Alberta legislature to resume with COVID work, other bills, sitting into July

Walt Disney World presenting plans for reopening parks

Walt Disney World presenting plans for reopening parks

‘Amazing Race Canada’ wins big on second night of Canadian Screen Awards

‘Amazing Race Canada’ wins big on second night of Canadian Screen Awards

Quebec to loan up to US$200 million to struggling Cirque du Soleil

Quebec to loan up to US$200 million to struggling Cirque du Soleil

UNB board votes to strip name from law faculty building over links to slavery

UNB board votes to strip name from law faculty building over links to slavery

Election meddling becoming more sophisticated, Microsoft chief warns

Election meddling becoming more sophisticated, Microsoft chief warns

Four Minneapolis officers fired after death of black man

Four Minneapolis officers fired after death of black man

‘Bayern Road Runner’ Alphonso Davies shines against Dortmund

‘Bayern Road Runner’ Alphonso Davies shines against Dortmund

Most Read