A lot of fundraising endeavours come across my desk each week, but the Montreal General Hospital Foundation’s new benefit event, Hockey 911, might just be one of the most cleverly conceived yet. It will take place on Oct. 2 at Taverne Moderne 1909 at the Bell Centre and feature hockey legends such as Bob Gainey, Guy Lafleur, Chris Nilan, Trent McCleary and Serge Savard, alongside Montreal General Hospital doctors who work with Canadiens hockey players.
Following the format of a hockey game (with three periods and banter and food during intermissions) and hosted by master entertainer Gregory Charles, players and their doctors will take their audience through memorable moments, tales of bravery, tragic accidents and funny anecdotes. The event will pay homage to Dr. Douglas Kinnear (1927–2019), who served as the Habs team physician from 1962 to 1999. He worked closely with the living legend, Dr. David Mulder.
Come back with me if you will to January 29, 2000. McCleary was on the ice in a game against the Philadelphia Flyers and he threw himself in front of a puck shot by defenceman Chris Therrien. It hit him right in the throat, destroying his larynx and preventing oxygen from reaching his lungs. He came within just a hair from dying on the ice, but he had Dr. Mulder by his side. He never played another game and made a complete recovery. The only thing his breathing could not handle was a hockey game. “I lost 20 percent of my airway,” McCleary told me over the phone from his Swift Current, Saskatchewan office, where he works for CIBC and serves as the chair of the board for the local junior hockey club.
McCleary said that Dr. Mulder called and asked him a few months ago to take part in Hockey 911. “I would jump through a ring of fire for him,” he remarked. “Dr. Mulder saved my life and this event they have planned has a fabulous premise.”
After he retired, McCleary scouted out West for the Habs for five years. “My last pick was Carey Price,” he said. “Then I stepped away. I had young kids and the travel was too difficult.”
Dr. Mulder credits Andrew Molson for coming up with this brilliant idea and Gregory Charles for the equally impressive format. “I am only sorry Dr. Kinnear did not live to be part of it,” Dr. Mulder told me. “He was quite excited when we told him about it. Dr. Kinnear was a pioneer who forged strong bonds between the Canadiens and our hospital.”
COHEN CHATTER: The Adath in Hampstead has a comedy evening planned for Monday, Sept. 23 with headliner Joel Chasnoff. Former Expos play-by-play man Elliott Price will do the same this season on 610 CKTB for the Ontario Junior Hockey League Niagara IceDogs …. Montrealer Alyson Lozoff has left the broadcast team of the Las Vegas Golden Knights and joined the Anaheim Ducks….Bravo to Angela Lehrer, Ann Murphy, Elana Mayberger and Tom Grainger for the Montreal Children’s Hospital Foundation fundraiser they have planned on Sept. 26 to benefit the allergy department. It is an opportunity to ride La Grande Roue, the large Ferris wheel in the Old Port, for 24 hours. There will also be a cocktail-dinatoire that evening. Check out https://fondationduchildren.com/en/events/the-24-hour-teal-wheel-challenge. This Sunday at the Coop Katacombes on St. Laurent Blvd, Rock the Light, in conjunction with the Light the Night Walk, will present the Night to Rock the Light Part Deux. This musical and comedy extravaganza features Daylite Vampires and other music. All proceeds will go towards the Light the Night Walk for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.