bits of McSorley's skull on it.
Photo credit: Roger Hallett
Unfortunately, Leaf fans also know a little bit about heart problems. In recent years we've seen Luca Cereda's career-ending congenital heart defect, Pat Quinn's playoff arrhythmia scare, and Jonas Gustavsson's ablation. Only the JFJ-era teams seemed to escape heart problems, since Ferguson made sure none of the players he acquired actually had one.
This year, why not show a little heart of your own by helping out a great cause?
The Hockey for Heart tournament is the creation of Rob Weir. In 1993, Rob watched his father Roger die of a heart attack during a game of pickup hockey. Roger hadn't realized he had a heart condition. He was 46.
Rob launched Hockey for Heart in 1995 as a four-team tournament that raised $1,000 for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. Since then the tournament has expanded across Ontario and has raised over $890,000. Along the way, the tournament has had help from hockey royalty such as Johnny Bower (Roger's all-time favorite player), Darryl Sittler, Peter Zezel and Walter Gretzky.
Oh, and did I mention Wendel Clark?
Yes, Mr. All Heart himself is on board. He's been involved in the project for three years, and will be back this year for several tournaments.
This year's schedule begins in January and features stops in Toronto, Ottawa, Kingston, Hamilton and ten more cities.
Wendel Clark wants you to help out. You know what you have to do.
Here's how it works: Teams or individual players can register for their local tournament. Everyone gets three games (no contact, no slappers, just a rec-level fun time). Players raise money through sponsorships, and the top fund-raisers for each tourney get to take the ice for a special game against a team of pros and celebrities.
And yes, that means that you personally could wind up sharing a rink with Wendel Clark. If that opportunity doesn't get your attention, I'm not sure what you're doing on this site.
How you can help:
- Visit the Hockey For Heart web site for a schedule of tournaments locations and other details
- If there's a tournament near you, put a team together
- If you can't get a full team, sign up to play as an individual (they'll find a team for you)
- If you know somebody who's playing, sponsor them.
- And if there's no tournament near you, why not show your support via Rob's player donation page?