HALIFAX — It’s a chance to renew old friendships, deliver some good-natured jabs at the favourite teams of others who didn't make it this far and raise some money for a worthy cause.
It’s also a chance to pick up some pretty sweet hockey swag and enjoy some good food.
Over the years the Memorial Cup Fan Breakfast has become a much-loved part of the event.
Started in 2006 by the owner of the Moncton Wildcats when they hosted the Memorial Cup, it has evolved into a sold-out event now put on by a mish-mash of dedicated junior hockey fans from across the country that include the Junior Hockey Junkies, a group of young and old make it a point of attending every Memorial Cup, even if their team isn’t taking part.
This year’s event, held Sunday morning at Murphy’s On The Water restaurant saw around 150 people raise $9,600 for the Veterans Emergency Transition Services Canada, a non-profit that helps identify and provide emergency support for homeless veterans.
The event sells out every year. Only rule: you have to wear your home team’s jersey, and about 30 different teams were represented Sunday.
“You get some local flavour. There are some Mooseheads here I’ve never seen before, and then there are people I’ve seen at every one of them,” said organizer Tim Kingsbury.
“In Kitchener in 2008 they asked my wife Julie and I to help and that really became the start of it,” said Guelph Storm superfan Tim Kingsbury, whose wife Julie has been instrumental in the success of the event.
“The first one In Kitchener we raised $2,500 and it’s just gone up from there,” Kingsbury said. A couple of Memorial Cup Fan Breakfasts have raised over $10,000.
“It’s about fans getting together from all over the country and seeing old friends and exchanging pleasantries,” Kingsbury said.
Jim Leclair upheld the tradition by wearing a Kootenay Ice jersey, even though there is no Kootenay Ice any more. They moved to Winnipeg this year.
“My first Memorial Cup was 20 years ago and I’ve been to every one since,” said Leclair, sitting with his Memorial Cup buddy Gordon Harris.
“It’s a phenomenal thing, raising money for local charities and getting to see people again, just getting together and having a nice time,” Leclair aid.
“It’s just about fun really. The money is secondary really,” said Harris, sporting his Kamloops Blazer jersey.
Money is raised through raffles and silent auction of items donated by everything from NHL and OHL teams to individual fans.
Nine game worn jerseys and a signed jersey from each of this year’s Memorial Cup participants were the hot ticket items.