Skip to content

Hockey Night In Simcoe County set to return for 11th year

MP Alex Nuttal is new chair of the charity hockey event
Alex Nuttall
Alex Nuttall is the new chair of Hockey Night in Simcoe County

Hockey Night In Simcoe County returns this year with a new face at the helm.

The 11th annual charity hockey event will take place at the Barrie Molson Centre on Thursday, Aug. 9 with a new head chair in Barrie-Springwater-Oro-Medonte MP Alex Nuttall.

Nuttall will take over for friend and former organizer Patrick Brown, who will act as a honorary chair for the night.

In the 10 years that HNISC has been in existence, the celebrity hockey event has raised more than $2 million for local charities and particularly for Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre.

Nuttall said that the appointment worked out great for him as the HNISC event will be helping a cause dear to him and his family.

“This year one of the areas of the hospital that will benefit from the event is the prenatal and neonatal intensive care unit and that is special to me and my family for sure,” said Nuttall. “My son almost arrived at 22 weeks and we spent many nights receiving not just physical care, but emotional care as well.

“That’s something you don’t even think about but the doctors and nurses were there for us and we were and are forever grateful.”

Nuttall has been a part of the hockey festivities every year and thinks it is one of the best events in the area not only for all the money and awareness it raises, but for the fun it brings to those who attend.

No celebrities and hockey stars have been named yet, but Nuttall assures everyone it will be as stacked as usual.

“First off, it will be hard to follow the unbelievable hard work that Patrick put into this year in and year out; no one works harder than him,” said Nuttall. “Every year you wondered if someone that has helped before will be available or not, and sure enough Patrick got them to come out.

“It will be the same this time around and we will be reaching out to many of the regulars and even some new faces. When it comes to this event, people want to be involved not only because of how much it helps, but it is such a Canadian way to do so; playing hockey and having some laughs.”

The goal for Aug. 9 is to raise at least $200,000 and based on past years that shouldn’t be a problem. Seven of 10 events have sold out, which is quite an accomplishment being that most would rather be outside enjoying hot summer nights.

Nuttall says he will follow the same plan as every year and that is to make the game fun but competitive, even if that means him and his friend Brown on different squads.

“I think folks enjoy the fun aspect of it, but also like to see some great plays and competition,” said Nuttall. “Patrick and I enjoy competing and maybe we should be on opposing teams for once, I don’t want to guess who would do better but I know we’d both be pretty sore after.”

While Brown has had a busy year, with his resignation from the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party in January, his current defamation lawsuit against CTV news and the highly anticipated release of his tell-all book on Nov. 1, the Simcoe North MPP says that he is excited about Nuttall taking over and knows the MP will shine at this new position.

“Alex and I go way back and I don’t know anyone who works as hard and is as great a person as Alex,” said Brown. “The 11th annual event could very well be the best one yet and I will be there to do whatever is needed and whatever I am asked to.”

For the years Brown has run the event, he does have some advice for his friend that will come in handy.

“Don’t call any of the players while the playoffs are on,” said Brown. “When I first started I was excited and would reach out to NHL players for their help around this time and they were like, dude, we’re kind of thinking about the Holy Grail of hockey right now. Of course, they were and I learned to wait until that was over.”

Other charities that will see money from the event is the Easter Seals, the Canadian Mental Health Association and the Barrie Colts Community Fund.


Verified reader

If you would like to apply to become a verified commenter, please fill out this form.

Shawn Gibson

About the Author: Shawn Gibson

Shawn Gibson is a staff writer based in Barrie
Read more