By Greg Douglas – Dr. Sport
SCENE & HEARD: It is a rare occasion in Vancouver when professional athletes from the Canucks, BC Lions and Whitecaps FC are able to mix and mingle with their fans at an outdoor social gathering.
Sports Alumni Day at Hastings Racecourse, introduced last summer at the track, is the exception.
The concept was hatched during the 2016-17 NHL season when former Canucks defensive stalwart Jyrki Lumme swung by the Alumni Suite at Rogers Arena one night and met Hastings Racecourse general manager Darren MacDonald.
Lumme, who spent eight years of his 15-year NHL career wearing #21 for the Canucks, mentioned how common it was in his native Finland for hockey players to socialize with fellow athletes at the highest level.
As the conversation continued, the idea of a sports alumni event for charity grew to the point where a committee was formed to investigate the interest level among the three pro franchises, adding legendary Hastings jockeys to the mix.
The inaugural Sports Alumni Day at the Races on Father’s Day of last year drew an enormous crowd despite cold and wet weather. Hopefully the elements will be much more pleasant for the second edition: Sunday, July 29 with dozens of athletes booked to appear on behalf of Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, BC Lions Alumni Foundation Support Fund and Covenant House Vancouver as the Whitecaps FC designated charity.
They will share in the proceeds of a silent auction, 50/50 draw and Marquee Tent VIP party. Ultimate Game Day Experiences from the Canucks, Lions, Whitecaps FC and Hastings Racecourse will be featured in the silent auction along with autographed jerseys.
While there is no admission fee for live racing at Hastings Racecourse, VIP tickets to the Marquee Tent for Sports Alumni Day are now available at vancouversportsalumni.com