It has been a long time since Varsity Arena played host to an event that has attracted a large, excited audience. But on Nov. 10, the place will come alive as the University of Toronto Campus Police prepare to face off against a star-studded line-up of former NHLers and Hockey Hall of Famers in a battle that will rival any Toronto Maple Leafs game.
The difference is that tickets are only $10, and with the proceeds benefiting charity, everybody wins.
Organizers Special Constable John Sinclair and team captain Sean Tompa sat down with The Varsity leading up to this action-packed evening.
The Varsity: The University of Toronto Campus Police has done various charity events in previous years. But this is the first year you will be holding a charity hockey game.
John Sinclair: We chose hockey because we thought it would be something that would involve students, faculty, and staff and be an event that would be suited towards everybody. We also knew that the kids from Variety Village, the group that we are benefitting, would also be interested in coming to an event like this. It has a broad appeal. And when people hear the talent that we have—Glenn Anderson, Dale Hawerchuk, Michel Goulet, Borje Salming, Steve Shutt—people get excited.
Sean Tompa: John [Sinclair] and I were the ones who came up with the idea. We grew up playing hockey, but with our shift work we are not able to play or coach hockey as much as we would like to. So we sat down and decided that we want to make it as big as possible.
TV: Tell us a bit about Variety Village and how you hope to benefit them through this occasion.
JS: Variety Village is a special needs charity in Scarborough. They benefit children of special needs so that they can be included in sports. It’s extremely inclusive, and we saw a synergy between the University of Toronto Athletics Department and people interested in sport, and helping an athletic facility geared to people of all abilities.
TV: What can the audience expect to experience at the event?
JS: It’s a show. There will be pyrotechnics, there will be music. It’s being hosted and refereed by Rod Black, who is a host on TSN. And a world-class figure-skating team will be coming in and performing during the intermissions. There is also an afterparty with tonnes of NHL swag at the Duke of York that is included with the price of admission. To go to a hockey game with an afterparty for $10, you can’t beat it.
TV: How were you able to get hockey legends such as six-time Stanley Cup winner Glenn Anderson and 500-goal-scorer Dale Hawerchuk, to name a few, involved for this event?
JS: These guys are all in town due to Hockey Hall of Fame inductions that week. So when we contacted them through Old Timer’s Hockey, we were able to negotiate some extremely talented players and bring them to our campus for the purpose of a charity event.
ST: It’s definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me to play with some of these really talented players. Realizing that I will be on the ice with guys who were legends in my mind, it’s pretty exciting.
TV: How has Campus Police prepared for such challenging and gifted opponents?
JS: We wanted to put the best team possible on the ice, because the better we are, the better the NHLers are going to look against us. So we thought where better to find hockey talent than within the Varsity Blues and intramural sports at the university. So we have two representatives from the Varsity Blues, both from the female team. We also have two players from St. Michael’s College, a player from the engineering faculty as well as a student from the pharmacy department. We may also have another team of ringers come in and help us out. And they may be five years old. Hopefully with the support of Timbits hockey, they’ll put some pucks in the net too.
ST: It’s all for charity, so we just want to do our best. It’s all about the players, it’s all about the Hockey Hall of Famers, it’s all about the former NHLers coming out and doing this for charity. So hopefully we can make everyone happy and put up a good fight.
JS: The real winner in this is going to be Variety Village and also the University of Toronto to be able to host this kind of event.
*Tickets to the event are available at the Campus Police office located at 21 Sussex Ave., or online at Ticket Break (ticketbreak.com). Over a thousand tickets have been sold already and more are being distributed every day. *