by Trish Buote, Executive Director, United Way Leeds & Grenville
The Gord Brown Memorial Hockey Night in Leeds Grenville event took place on Wednesday night (November 28, 2018) in the Lou Jeffries Arena in Gananoque, bringing together two of the late MP Gord Brown’s passions: hockey and community. The event aimed to raise money to support the United Way Leeds & Grenville and the Gord Brown Memorial Canada 150 Outdoor Rink.
The event saw over 450 people attend the game with some 200 attending the VIP event afterwards. The event was a fundraiser but also a memorial for our late MP who did so many amazing things for the community. The Game Committee ensured that the event honoured Gord and his family wherever possible. The game started with a long-time friend of Gord’s, Jeff Callery, on ice singing the song “The Call”, it was followed by an Honour Guard (Brockville Rifles) and the singing of Oh Canada.
The game was fun and high spirited – Just the way Gord would have liked it. Gord’s son Chance, brother Jeff, and nephews Colin, Graeme and Sean, gave it their all in the game. Lots of great NHL Alumni, like Laurie Boschman, Jay McClement, Jim Dorey, Rick Smith and Fred O’Donnell, enjoyed playing. Notable Leeds & Grenville businessmen, George Tackaberry, Gerald Tallman, David Beatty, Ian McFall, and Brendon Bland acted as coaching staff and General Managers.
Rogers sponsored the three stars of the game: two stars went to Gord sons, Tristan and Chance. The final star went to the person who will always be the #1 star of this game, Gord Brown. Gord’s widow, Claudine Courtois, and his brother Jeff, accepted the award on his behalf.
The VIP event followed with wonderful food and beverages. NHL Alumni player Jay McLement presented Gord’s sons with some signed gifts from Gord’s favourite player, #27 Darryl Sittler. The evening was rounded out with a healthy and fun Live Auction run by Kevin Beattie and Bruce Wylie.
I was so pleased to have the opportunity to participate in the running of this game. Certainly, to help raise money to support social programs in the Leeds & Grenville community, but also to remember a man who gave so much of himself to help the community. Gord helped the United Way over the years raise over $850,000 with the Hockey games, as well as participating on the Board and on our Cabinet. He was a kind man who believed that I could help raise the funds in this community to make a difference. I appreciated his support and kindness more than words can say. The beacon that the event committee followed while planning the event was that we wanted to make Gord proud and to help build a legacy of support in his name. We think we accomplished our goal.
The game raised $83,728.