Hockey marathon hits Centre Ice

Forty years after he scored the most famous goal in Canadian hockey history, Paul Henderson’s name still resonates.

Forty years after he scored the most famous goal in Canadian hockey history, Paul Henderson’s name still resonates.

Consider that the No. 19 jersey he was wearing when he scored the game-winner in the 1972 Summit Series against the Soviet Union sold for $1.275 million at auction – the most expensive hockey jersey ever, according to the Guinness Book of World Records.

Henderson lends his name to an Abbotsford-based fundraiser known as the Hockey Marathon of Hope, and the seventh edition of the event runs on Sept. 8. While organizers Dave Currie and Geoff Lee aren’t under any illusions that they’ll generate the kind of funds Henderson’s jersey auction did, they believe the sport of hockey offers a unique opportunity.

“It feels like a natural fundraiser for Canadians,” Currie said. “You think about playing 10 hours straight, and it’s pretty fun for hockey nuts. And we’re excited about helping a lot of people in the process.”

Henderson has attended three of the previous Hockey Marathons of Hope in person, though he won’t be able to do so this year due to his ongoing battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

“His cancer limits his schedule,” Currie noted. “He’s pretty positive about how he faces it. Every day is a day of grace, he says.

“We’ll likely do an interview over the phone which we’ll record, and he’ll give a word to the guys via audio. He’s sent us books of his life story and DVDs of the ’72 series to give to the guys.”

The event takes over the Centre Ice twin rinks facility, and players are divided into four teams for the marathon.

“Throughout the whole day, you’re treated like a professional athlete,” Lee said. “For guys who haven’t played much high-level hockey, it’s a fun atmosphere.”

Each participant commits to raising at least $1,000, which goes to Doing Family Right, a Christian ministry to strengthen families, and the Imani Orphan Care Foundation, which runs two facilities in Kenya housing over 250 children.

“I like to call it a balanced portfolio,” Currie said. “We’re helping at home, and we’re also helping overseas.”

There is still room for more players. For more information or to register, contact Lee (778-552-3489 or geoff@imaniorphancare.com) or Currie (604-309-6426 or drdave@doingfamilyright.com).