Robitailles ready for another shootout
Nothing says midwinter fun quite like an onslaught of Canadian hockey players coming into town, and, with the return of the Luc Robitaille Celebrity Shootout this January, it looks like the fun is about to return.
The shootout, which brings NHL athletes and actors together to raise money for youth, is returning for its second year to the Park City Ice Arena. According to Robitaille, who owns a second home with wife, Stacia, in Heber, the event is here to stay.
"We’re looking forward to making it better year after year," Luc said.
The event will feature a celebrity hockey game, complete with celebrity coaches and NHL players and actors on both teams.
Luc, who is currently the president of business operations for the Los Angeles Kings, played 19 seasons in the NHL. During that time, he won a Stanley Cup and holds the record as the highest scoring left winger in history. Stacia is also a bit of a celebrity herself, with her own record company, Raystone Records, and a resume that includes singer, songwriter, recording artist and executive producer. With those kinds of connections, the two decided to join forces to make a difference with the celebrity hockey game.
The list of NHL players that could attend includes Marcel Dionne, Marty McSorley, Mark Messier, Brett Hull. Igor Larionov, Paul Coffey, Mario Lemieux, Tony Amonte and Brian Leetch. The Hollywood list will likely include hockey enthusiasts like Dave Annabelle, Matthew Perry, Jason Reitman, Cuba Gooding, Jr. and Jerry Bruckheimer. They are also hoping to convince a few famous Canucks like Mike Myers to join them.
It has already been confirmed that Stacia will coach one of the teams for the second year in a row and Andie MacDowell will coach the other. Stacia admits that despite watching her husband play for the last 20 years, she isn’t much of a hockey expert. She should be in good company as MacDowell told Stacia that she knows nothing about the sport.
"She’s studying up," Stacia said. "We’re gonna get really into it."
The main beneficiary of this year’s event is Luc and Stacia’s charity, Echoes of Hope. The charity was created after Stacia spent much of 2005 and 2006 helping with the relief effort after Hurricane Katrina through their Shelter of Serenity organization. After that, they both were awakened to the harsh youth foster system in the country and decided to focus their efforts on helping foster and emancipated youth get a good start in the world.
"These are kids that have so much potential. It’s not easy out there," Stacia said. "We’ve built a community of kids. A lot of kids are working towards the same goal."
The biggest goal is college. Stacia sad that many of the youth they work with are highly motivated and have earned college scholarships, but still needs lots of support financially and emotionally to continue on their journey.
According to Luc, the program assists young people with post-secondary tuition, books, school and vocational supplies, as well as transportation and housing needs.
"If these kids don’t have help or support, it’s just a talk," Luc said.
He went on to point out that 50 percent of emancipated and foster teens that don’t receive continued support after high school will end up homeless.
Like last year, many of the Echoes of Hope beneficiaries will be on hand helping with the event. Stacia said one youth from Utah and three from Los Angeles will be attending the event. The kids will give locker-room talks to the celebrity teams and help with other behind-the-scenes tasks.
"It’s a really great opportunity for the celebrities to get to know the youth and learn why we do this," Stacia said.
But the aid doesn’t stop there. The Shootout will also benefit locals organizations including Park City Wasatch Back Youth Hockey Association and the Park City Predators women’s hockey team.
The Robitailles said that last year the community support and involvement they received was overwhelming, and so, this year they wanted to make sure they made an impact in the community with this year’s game
The Robitailles also wanted to make trhe event more affordable for the community and reduced the cost of tickets to $20.
"We wanted to make it more affordable for families," Stacia said.
This is where the local programs come in. The youth and women hockey players will be selling the tickets and receive a portion of the proceeds from each ticket sold.
"This is a great fundraising opportunity," said Park City Ice Arena marketing and events coordinator Jason Glidden. "But it’s also fun."
The local teams will also help with the running of the event.
"The kids will help," Luc said. "It’s fun to have the kids around."
The Salt Lake Grizzlies minor-league hockey team will come on board in a few weeks to sell more tickets in the Salt Lake area.
The game will be broadcast on Canadian stations across the country. Glidden said that the Canadian coverage of the event really boosts Park City’s visibility to its northern neighbors.
The Luc Robitaille Celebrity Shootout will be held Sunday, Jan. 18, from 2 to 4:30 p.m. at the Park City Ice Arena. The event will feature the game and a skills competition. People interested in attending may contact the ice rink at 615-5700. For more information on Echoes of Hope, visit http://www.echoesofhope.com.
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