Toronto Maple Leafs alumni member Brad May meets his PAACL opponents during team introductions prior to the start of the Inclusion Cup, Friday, Feb. 21, 2020 at the AV Multiplex in Port Alberni. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Maple Leafs alumni take over Alberni Valley Multiplex

Inclusion Cup raises funds for Port Alberni Association for Community Living

Whether you were a Toronto Maple Leafs fan or not, the Alberni Valley Multiplex was buzzing last Friday as the Port Alberni Association of Community Living (PAACL) Bombers faced off against the Maple Leafs alumni.

People came from as far away as Campbell River to attend a fundraising meet and greet with some of the former National Hockey League players and to watch a fun hockey game. Former NHLers like Rick Vaive, Brad May, Al Iafrate, Mike Krushelnyski, Trevor Kidd and Nik Antropov took to the ice against the Bombers in the annual Inclusion Cup, hosted by PAACL.

A Timbit hockey team even helped score some goals against the Maple Leafs during an intermission between the two, 20-minute periods (the Zamboni driver was nowhere to be seen). There were no penalties called, just penalty shots, and the second period started with a shootout.

Craig Summers from PAACL said the fundraising event was a success.

“I think we did well. We made money on it, for sure,” he said.

“Our intent was to spread the word of inclusion. Our first priority was about inclusion and community living. Then bringing these guys here to raise money to help our agency.

“This is the first time the Leafs have come out west for an alumni game,” he added.

Rick Vaive, who scored half a dozen goals in the 40-minute game, has been playing with the alumni for about 15 years. “We’ve been all over the country, which is a lot of fun,” he said. “We enjoy helping out communities like this and doing what we can to help them raise money for people that need it.”

Vaive said inclusion is important for everyone. “We live in a society today where everything’s acceptable. No matter what people are, what sex, what religion, it doesn’t matter—we’re a country that includes everybody. We’re a great country for it. I know as hockey players we’re all for it.”

Funds raised during the game will go primarily to the Pathways drop-in program that PAACL operates from its Second Avenue office.

Oh, and as to who won the game? Was there ever any doubt? Even though the Bombers tied it up at seven apiece and even took an 8–7 lead, the Maple Leafs alumni were 15–8 victors.

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Rylee Zambon, centre, an honourary Toronto Maple Leafs alumni team member from Nanaimo, gets in PAACL Bombers’ goaltender Tristan Jordan’s face late in the final period of the Inclusion Cup at the Alberni Valley Multiplex on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Jyrki Lumme, left, and Brad May share a laugh at their hockey cards a fan asked them to sign during a meet and greet with the Toronto Maple Leafs alumni prior to the Inclusion Cup at the Alberni Valley Multiplex on Feb. 21, 2020. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Noah Neudorf, right, from Campbell River waits for Toronto Maple Leafs alumni Nik Antropov, left, and Al Iafrate to sign his autograph card, Friday, Feb. 21, 2020 during a meet and greet with the players before the Inclusion Cup at the Alberni Valley Multiplex. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

Toronto Maple Leafs alumni player Mike Krushelnyski high fives Carter Knoll, centre, and Hunter Porter while waiting for a PAACL Bomber player to take a penalty shot during the Inclusion Cup at the AV Multiplex on Friday, Feb. 21, 2020. (SUSAN QUINN/ Alberni Valley News)

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