Big names and big bucks

Matthew Gourlie
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Another successful year for the Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Banquet

A quartet of champions shared the stage and shared some laughs Saturday at the 22nd annual Kinsmen Celebrity Sports Banquet.

Hockey Hall of Fame inductee Doug Gilmour, three-time World Series champion Devon White, plus Geroy Simon and John Chick from the Grey Cup champion Saskatchewan Roughriders all spoke at the Kinsmen fundraiser. Scott Morrison from Rogers Sportsnet emceed the evening.

K+S Potash Canada was the title sponsor for the third straight year.

"We're not 100 per cent sure what the numbers are that have come in yet, but the numbers are right up there. We're happy with the results, " said Kirk Olson, the Sports Celebrity Banquet chairman. "Every year we have guys who come out to support us and they never fail to pull through. At the end of the day we're happy with the funds we end up getting."

The money raised goes towards a number of Kinsmen initiatives including: Kinsmen Flying Fins swimming, Kinsmen wrestling, Hunger In Moose Jaw, Kinsmen lacrosse, the Heart of the CIty piano program and Kidsport.

"One hundred per cent of the funds we raise go to local programs," said Olson.

Once again all 450 tickets for the event were sold.

"We're really happy with how everything went," said Olson.

Though he played for seven NHL teams, there was a strong contingent of Toronto Maple Leaf fans there to see Gilmour.

Gilmour shared some funny tales — that ranged from seeing a woman jump out of a dumpster and relieve herself at his first NHL training camp in Regina with the St. Louis Blues to waiting by the Pittsburgh bus to threaten and scare Penguins defenceman Darius Kasparaitis after a game.

He also revealed that Brian Sutter compared him to Charles Manson which was the start of him being nicknamed "killer".

Gilmour, who is currently the general manager of the OHL's Kingston Frontenacs, won a lot of fans for his gritty style.

He weighed 165 pounds when he was drafted, but he said he never believed he was a small player. He certainly never felt like he played like a small player. He said he tried to live his life by a simple saying: "A person shows who he is by what he does with what he has."

Gilmour won the Stanley Cup with Calgary and said he had a blast during his playing career, but he had one regret: "I would have loved to have played one more game and gone out and messed up Kerry Fraser's hair," said Gilmour of the long-time NHL referee who infamously didn't penalize Wayne Gretzky for a high stick on Gilmour in overtime of Game 6 of the Western Conference finals in 1993. Gretzky and the Kings would go on to eliminate the Toronto in seven games.

White reminisced about the depth and quality of the Blue Jays' 1992 and 1993 World Series championship teams. He won another title with Florida, but he called Canada "his second home" and said his five years in Toronto were the best of his career.

In addition to speaking at the banquet, Simon took advantage of his trip to Moose Jaw to fly with the Snowbirds.

"Yesterday I was as high as Rob Ford," Simon quipped in reference to the embattled Toronto mayor.

Lyle Helland won the Times-Herald's Sports Builder award. The Central Cyclones senior boys volleyball team was honoured as the Discover Moose Jaw team of the year. Rhaea Stinn presented the Kinsmen Sports Achievement Award to Levi Steinhauer from the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Chick congratulated Steinhauer on his honour and said: "He was a guy that came in as a rookie and did what you hope someone would do in that situation — he came in and busted his hump every day. And he's not a big talker, which is my favourite kind of player." Then Chick quipped: "But Levi made a mistake. He should have never let it be known that he played for a team called 'the Peacocks.' He'll be hearing about that in the locker room."

The live auction items proved to be a hot commodity. Live auction items raised $17,150 and another $16,700 was raised by auctioning off 13 hats which gave those bidders the chance at one of two trips — one to Las Vegas and a sports vacation in either Chicago, New York or Boston.

The event raised $1,150 for the signed banners of the athletes, $5,450 was raised by auctioning off the chance to eat dinner with members of the head table and the 50-50 draw raised in excess of $1,800.

Organizations: NHL, Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Banquet, Hockey Hall of Fame K+S Potash Canada St. Louis Blues OHL Kings Blue Jays Times-Herald

Geographic location: Moose Jaw, Toronto, Regina Pittsburgh Calgary Florida Canada Saskatchewan Las Vegas Chicago New York

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