Former National Hockey League star Brad May crosses the red line, looks up and makes a pass to a Local 793 Operating Engineer streaking across the blue line.
Yes, you read that right — a Local 793 Operating Engineer.
May, who played 18 seasons in the NHL, joined a team of Local 793 representatives in a tournament at Sixteen Mile Sports Complex in Oakville on Nov. 21 to raise money for Easter Seals Ontario.
Twelve teams participated in the Celebrity Hockey Classic. Each team had an NHL star on the roster.
May was drafted to play for Local 793 at a VIP event held the night before the tournament.
The Local 793 team played three games in the tournament. The team consisted of business reps, members and staff, and was coached by Ron Hillis, the union’s director of organizing. The Local 793 team won all three of its games.
Local 793 business manager Mike Gallagher was in the stands, supporting the Local 793 team.
His daughter, Breeann, was one of the players on the union team.
“Our players looked pretty good out there on the ice,” said Gallagher. “More importantly, though, we supported a good cause and raised funds for Easter Seals Ontario.”
Lisa-Marie Smith, co-ordinator of the tournament and senior development officer with Easter Seals Ontario, said the money goes towards helping children with physical disabilities.
“We’ve had a great tournament,” she said. “It’s been amazing.”
The tournament raised a total of $120,000. Local 793 raised about $12,500 and was one of the top three fundraisers.
“That’s a great figure,” Smith said of the money raised by Local 793.
May, who won a Stanley Cup with the Anaheim Ducks in 2007, said he enjoyed playing with the Operating Engineers.
“It was fun,” he said, during a break between games. “They’re a solid, solid hockey team.”
May wasn’t a stranger in the Local 793 dressing room.
He recalls playing with Local 793 business rep Mike Schutte when the two were in training camp with the Phoenix Coyotes.
“He (Schutte) came to training camp in Phoenix and played a couple of games. That was in 2002, I think. He was a really good player. I haven’t seen him in 10 or 12 years so it was kind of nice to see him here today.”
May said he doesn’t get a lot of time for hockey these days, as he does a lot of broadcast work in the evenings now, so it was nice to lace up the skates for a good cause.
“I cover so many hockey games in the evenings and there’s a lot of late nights so I don’t get to play a lot of hockey anymore.”
It didn’t take May long to get back into the swing of things, though.
“I feel pretty good,” he said. “I love hockey. Every time I get on the ice I think, ‘Why don’t I do this all the time?’ I enjoy it.”
He admitted, however, that the muscles were a bit sore.
“I think the body is starting to seize up,” he said.
The most important thing, said May, is that funds raised at the tournament go to a good cause.
“At the end of the day, it’s about raising money for a good cause and that’s Easter Seals,” he said. “It’s just great.”