The countdown has begun for the first games of the celebrated Kimmett Cup three-on-three charity tournament.
The first of the 45 teams will hit the ice at Mitford Pond tonight (Feb. 9) from 6 to 9 p.m. Play continues tomorrow on both the pond and SLS Centre's Totem 2 arena from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
An exciting new feature of the tournament is the involvement of three Calgary Flames alumni in Saturday's games.
About 33 of the 45 teams in the tournament participated in a bidding process to add Mason Raymond, Brent Cron and Corey Sarich to their line-ups.
"There was a flurry of bidding of bidding activity right up to the deadline," says Reid Kimmett, one of the tournament's organizers.
The teams had fun with the entire process.
"There was an e-mail thread that we were using to do the draft and there was a lot of talk on teams trading certain players of their team in order to try and get the Flames alumni a roster spot, that kind of thing."
It wasn't necessarily about team's adding a ringer to their bench.
"I think it's just going to be a really unique fun experience to get to share time and hear their stories and that kind of thing," says Kimmett.
Here's how it flushed out:
- We Our Family - Mason Raymond
- 15 Rainbows - Brent Cron
- The Jets - Corey Sarich
"The Jets, who have played in every Kimmett Cup in our history, are yet to scratch their name on the cup. So, they're hoping to break their 14-year drought this year."
Kimmett says the idea of involving Flames Alumni in the charity tournament has been their passion for some time, but they didn't have a connection. That all changed when Mason Raymond, Cochrane's acclaimed former NHLer, came on the scene.
"Over the past year, I connected with Mason Raymond of Cochrane GM and shared the idea with him. He was right on board. He thought that was a great idea and he's been really supportive of it and has been our driving force."
What to watch for:
- Play kicks off Friday night at Mitford Pond, 6 to 9 p.m.
- Play continues Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at both Mitford Pond and the SLS Centre's Totem Two arena.
- OPENING CEREMONIES -10:40 a.m. at Mitford Pond. All three Flames alumni will be participating.
- Flames Alumni will be on the ice for Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Mitford Pond.
- Playoffs get underway at 1:45 p.m. with the finals at 3:45 p.m.
- The afterparty at Half Hitch has been sold-out.
- Online silent auction has 100 great items up for grabs, and closes on Feb. 11 at 2 p.m. Place your bids here.
- The 50/50 online raffle has begun and it's an opportunity to split a pot of up to $20,000. You can purchase tickets until Feb. 29.
Three important causes are being supported by this year's event. Proceeds will be split between the Helping Hands Society of Cochrane & Area, Helping Families Handle Cancer and the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation.