Kicking off the Boots and Hearts Barn Burner Charity Hockey Game’s promotion Thursday afternoon at Barrie’s Sadlon Arena was — what else? — a hockey player.
“It’s a great experience for the fans, and raising funds for charity,” Montreal Canadiens forward Chris Tierney said about the game, which is returning to the ice for a 16th year.
Over the years, the popular event has raised more than $2 million for local charities, including Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH), Rotary Club, PIE Education, Easter Seals, Canadian Mental Health Association, John Tavares Foundation, and others.
“For us, it is a huge night,” said host Alex Nuttall, who’s also Barrie mayor. “We are able to raise so much for so many organizations — from all the ticket revenue, all the donations, all the boxes, arena advertising. It’s really great to see it go to all of these charities.”
Toronto Maple Leafs captain John Tavares, Calgary Flames forward Andrew Mangiapane (who played for the Barrie Colts from 2013-16) and Brandt Clarke of Barrie Colts will also play in the game on Wednesday, Aug. 9.
Tickets for the game went on sale Thursday and Nuttall said it was already 25 per cent sold out.
Tickets are available at bootsandheartsbarnburner.ca.
RVH has always been involved with the game and this year is no exception.
“One of our urgent needs is the expansion of RVH’s neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), where we care for our tiniest and most vulnerable patients,” Gail Hunt, RVH president and CEO, stated in a news release. “Community support, through the Boots and Hearts Barn Burner Charity Hockey Game, will help us expand the space and services so we can continue to save and change those little lives.”
Pamela Ross, who is CEO of the RVH Foundation, also said the expansion was needed.
“Our littlest patients are being cared for in spaces that are just too small and, despite that, our staff do a remarkable job providing world-class care,” she said.
Craig Russell of PIE Education said donations from the game help fill 1,000 to 1,500 backpacks with school supplies each year.
The Boots and Hearts Barn Burner Charity Hockey Game raised $155,000 for local charities in 2022.
The charity hockey game will be played ahead of Boots and Hearts, the music and camping festival, at Burl’s Creek in Oro-Medonte Township, from Aug. 10-13, featuring Tim McGraw, Keith Urban and Nickelback.