GALLERY: United Way and partners host charity hockey game

An exhibition contest between the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves and the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies presented by Bell Let’s Talk in support of the North East Ontario United Way at the McIntyre Arena Friday night attracted 1,433 fans. Taking part in the pregame puck-dropping ceremony were, from left: Sudbury Wolves forward Macauley Carson; United Way manager, Cochrane and Timiskaming Districts Jennifer Gorman; United Way executive director, Michael Cullen; Northern Tel/Bell client executive Renee Palmater; Wolves owner Dario Zulich; Huskies administrative director Ian Clermont; Timmins Rock president Ted Gooch; Timmins Mayor Steve Black and Huskies defenceman Jacob Neveu. THOMAS PERRY/THE DAILY PRESS

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A rare occasion occurred in Timmins as the OHL’s Sudbury Wolves played against the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies on Friday at the McIntyre Arena to a sellout crowd.

The inaugural United Way charity matched was presented by Bell Let’s Talk in support of youth mental health.

“This was an idea of Mayor Black and the ownership of the Sudbury Wolves and then we brought in the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and it was just an idea to raise money for the United Way locally and help support youth and youth mental health,” said Michael Cullen, executive director of United Way Northeast Ontario.

“We brought in Bell Media on board and they put in some supporting dollars so Northern Tel is here tonight. It’s just all about youth and mental health and all of the issues of the community of Timmins.”

The Timmins Rock also managed ticket sales and preparations for the gamse day event.

Cullen said they sold over $3,000 so far in tickets. They also had their 50/50 draw. He said $15,000 in charitable goods would be ideal but they still need to tally up all their finances.

“This is awesome. The Rock was a huge part of this as well because the Rock did all the logistics on the ground. So it’s a three way team with the Rock, Huskies and Sudbury Wolves. We have to give a big shout to the Rock because their fan support, network and online presence really helped this game excel,” said Cullen.

Cullen said mental health issues are an everyday problem now. He said people aren’t shy to talk about it now.

It’s just an important topic so this is a way to combat that through the work of Bell and the Let’s Talk lines,” said Cullen.

Renee Palmateer, client executive at Northern Tel Bel said Bell has been committed to mental health programs around Canada.

“We’re proud to partner with United Way, the Wolves and the Rock for this truly impactful and meaningful event and together we want to keep the conversation going all year long,” said Palmateer.

“We know the sooner that we can get the young people to help their needs, the better the outcomes. We also recognize and are working hard to ensure that those services are available when people need them.”

Cullen said funds will go towards the youth hub led by the City of Timmins. He hopes the continue with the exhibition series.

“Maybe we can create a series like this. Maybe next year it’s the best of five or best of three. That’s sort of the idea,” said Cullen.

Game Photos courtesy of  Thomas Perry, The Daily Press (Timmins)