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Yellowknife hockey fans delight in NHL charity game

CBC
About 1,500 fans packed in to Yellowknife's Multiplex arena to see the hockey stars play.
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About 1,500 fans packed in to Yellowknife's Multiplex arena to see the hockey stars play.

Hockey fans in Yellowknife witnessed a rare sight Sunday night — a dozen NHL players joined local hockey players for a game.

The locked-out hockey stars played to a jam-packed arena.

The game raised money for the Aboriginal Sports Circle and First Assist, a sports and education program for First Nations youth.

The game was a dream come true for young skaters – they got to be on the ice with some of their NHL favourites.

“I was a bit nervous at first because it's my first time actually seeing an NHL player,” said Emma Wicks.

Among the players who came up North was Jordin Tootoo from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut. He was a clear crowd favourite, and ended the game with a hat trick.

Tootoo also spent plenty of time signing autographs after the game.

One person had a better time than expected. Yellowknifer Patrick Osmond made a winning shot at the ‘shoot to win’ game between the periods. A piece of cardboard with three small holes at the bottom covered the net, and participants had to shoot the puck from center line through one of the holes and into the net to win.

Osmond said he loves watching hockey, but he has never played a day in his life.

He could have fooled the crowd, as they watched in amazement as his shot glided right in.

"The NHL players, not many of them had seen it before, so they kind of reacted for me," said Osmond, who was immediately picked up in celebration by one of the players.

The shot won Osmond a car.

The NHL players head to Deline, N.W.T., today. They’ll take part in a cultural day, which may include some hunting and fishing.

“We can go to a rink in Ottawa and play hockey, but to actually be able to experience the culture and meet some really great people and see what they do day-to-day. It's going to be a blast,” said goalie Jody O’Neill.

After Deline, the players head to Inuvik, N.W.T., and Whitehorse.

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