A local charity is about to get some additional thrust, courtesy of Colonel David Wheeler and MP Brian Storseth. The two plan to host the second annual Afterburner Cup at J.J. Parr at 4 Wing on Saturday to raise money for the Military Families Support Society (MFSS).
A team of military members led by Wheeler will face off against a team of 10 MPs led by Storseth. Each team will get a boost from NHL alumni. Another two team spots will be sold to community members for the charity.
Finding enough MPs to form a team wasn't difficult, said Storseth.
"The military (is) a great host and they're all looking forward to talking to our men and women in the Armed Forces about how important the F-35 is compared to the other fighter jets that were available."
Playing with the politicians' team will be former Edmonton Oiler goalie Warren Skorodenski, former Detroit Red Wing Dennis Polonich, and Calgary Flames alumni Terry Johnson and Jamie Macoun.
Storseth's team will also get hockey legend Mike Gartner. Gartner played 19 seasons in the NHL, starting out as the fourth overall draft pick for the Washington Capitals in 1979. He ranks sixth on the league's goal scoring list, with an impressive 708 goals in his career.
Playing with the Base will be Oilers alumni Dave Lumley, Bruce Hardy and Norm Lacombe, and Oilers commentator Rob Brown.
Gartner will run a hockey clinic during the day for atom level players, and Oilers and Flames alumni will run another clinic for peewee players.
Afterburner refers to additional jet fuel added to the back of the engine, which give the CF-18 Hornets the flame out of the back of its engine.
"It gives you several thousand more pounds of thrust per engine," explained Lt.-Col. Eric Kenny, who is organizing the event.
"It's great that we're having Mike Gartner coming out to headline this event for us."
The MFSS started work this summer to keep a school on base after the Northern Lights School Division dropped R.A. Reynolds School from its division. Now the group governs the Art Smith Aviation Academy as well as supports the well-being of military families.
Game time is 4 p.m. and will feature intermission shows between periods. Two initiation level hockey teams will battle it out in the first intermission. During the second, a random draw will pick members out of the crowd to compete in a shootout for a signed hockey jersey.
Tickets are $10 for adults, or $5 for children under 6, and are available from J.J. Parr or the Military Families Resource Centre. VIP tickets are $250 and include special seating, a signed jersey, and access to the after-game party. Kenny expects to sell all 350 tickets before game day.
The confirmed list of MPs include Rob Moore (Fundy Royal), minister of state for small business and tourism, Patrick Brown (Barrie), Dean Del Mastro (Peterborough), James Rajotte (Edmonto-Leduc), Greg Rickford (Kenora), Rob Clarke (Desnethé—Missinippi—Churchill River), and Blake Richards (Wild Rose). Coaches will include Rona Ambrose (Edmonton- Spruce Grove), minister of public works and government services, and Laurie Hawn (Edmonton Centre), parliamentary secretary to the minister of national defence.