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Keane Insights: Mike Keane on his Celebrity Hockey Classic

February 19, 2020 3:52 pm by Krista Sinaisky

The Mike Keane Celebrity Hockey Classic (MKCHC) makes big league dreams come true for recreational league hockey players. This year, the unique event celebrates ten years of fun and community support on March 18 and 19 at Bell MTS Iceplex.

Last season’s event saw more than 220 adults transformed into wide-eyed kids as they received star treatment alongside their hockey idols, from the draft experience to the professional dressing room setup and the unique opportunity to talk hockey with NHL alumni.

The event provides the chance to play, socialize and make a difference, with funds raised going toward the True North Youth Foundation and Continuity Care. Over nine years, more than $2.5 million has been raised for mental health programming and resources.

If this event speaks to your childhood hockey dreams, get your team of 15-20 players plus coach together and get ready to make some memories. There are limited team openings for this year’s tenth anniversary tournament. Register now at KeaneHockeyClassic.ca or email Kait at kflett@tnse.com. Individuals can also inquire about being placed on a team.

After nine successful years of the tournament, Mike Keane shares some insights on the importance, and the fun, of his Classic.

How did the MKCHC start?
Jeoff Chipman actually came up with the idea, as a member of CC’s fundraising committee and approached me to see if there was an event we could collaborate on as a fundraiser for CC. After a couple of years of running the tournament, Chip got involved and helped us grow the tournament and added TNYF as a beneficiary. It’s humbling to know we started off as a six-team event, that’s now grown into 16 teams, and a major fundraiser for both causes. To have your name on something like that is something to be super proud of.

What do the causes mean to you?
Everyone has friends or family that knows someone with an intellectual disability. My friend recently had a child diagnosed with autism, and one of their first thoughts was “what is going to happen when we’re gone?” CC provides so many amazing resources for families and helps them plan for a successful future.
Project 11 hits really close to home for all of us in the Jets and Moose family. Having been Rick’s (Rypien) friend, teammate and roommate, I know that he really wanted to help kids. Mental health is so important, not just in the hockey world, but more importantly in the real world. I think starting these conversions and teaching kids the tools to deal with life’s issues are critical.

Favourite memory?
I was a huge Boston Bruins fan, so the one year we brought in Rick Middleton and Terry O’Reilly was a pretty surreal moment for me.

What is it like playing with old teammates?
It’s always great to reconnect with former teammates and guys I’ve played against. It’s a nice walk down memory lane but also just as nice to see how their families are doing, and what they’re up to.

How do you select the pros?
It’s all about the character of the guys. We look for guys that are great in the locker room, who interact with the teams really well, and who share those stories from back in the day. I try to get as many guys that I have a personal relationship with from my playing days.

What do you see as the future of the tournament?
We’ve hit a pretty sweet spot with the tournament. We’ve got a great formula and crew running the event. It’s important that we continue at the high level we’ve come to expect. The participants in the tournament work so hard to fundraise and we want to make sure we’re coming up with new ideas to keep things fresh. I’d love to continue the tournament as long as the community will support us!

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