Former NHL star Wendel Clark admits he was winded after a whirlwind skate at the new outdoor community rink in Havelock, Ont., on Saturday.
“I haven’t skated that hard for 20 minutes in a sweat in about 19 years,” he chuckled. “It was fun going up against some great little goalies in net.”
The famed former captain of Toronto Maple Leafs was in the small community 40 km east of Peterborough on Saturday for Be Leaf in Yourself: A Celebration of Ice Sport. It was a fundraiser in support of the inaugural Fire and Ice winter carnival last month.
Clark, who played from the Leafs for 13 seasons, donated 2,000 copies of his book Wendel: My Life in Hockey as a fundraiser. People who purchased a book got their name entered into a draw for a number of prizes, the top prize being a 20-minute one-on-one session against Clark on the outdoor ice.
All 2,000 books were sold at $20 each, bringing in $20,000 for the community event.
Curtis Bolton of Apsley won the right to face Clark.
“It’s great to be here for the community,” said Clark. “It’s great having festivities on the rink and off the rink to help raise some money and have some fun with the people and the kids. It’s a great day.”
Clark watched a figure skating show, skated with youth inside the nearby arena and played against Bolton before signing copies of his book to more than 100 people in attendance.
Clark says he enjoyed his time outdoors.
“Rinks indoors get busy because of the amount of teams and functions,” he said. “With an outdoor rink, it doesn’t matter what age (you are) — throw on some skates and a helmet and have some fun. There’s no end time. You start whenever and end whenever.”
Event organizer Dave Sharpe says he was proud of the community effort to bring Clark to the village of 4,500. Plans are already underway for the 2020 Fire and Ice Festival.
“It’s pretty meaningful to our community,” Sharpe said. “He’s a pretty big name in hockey. I’m proud of everyone for pulling together, getting our rink built and selling these books and bringing Wendel to Havelock.”
Clark’s NHL career, which spanned 1985 to 2000, concluded with 260 goals, 181 assists for 441 points in 608 games with Toronto, the New York Islanders, the Tampa Bay Lightning, the Detroit Red Wings and the Chicago Blackhawks.
He describes his “coffee table” book as a look back on his life in hockey, including humorous stories and memorable moments.
He might just add Havelock to the next edition.
“It’s a great hockey area, they love their game … just the odd Montreal sweater I didn’t like to see amongst these Toronto ones,” he laughed.
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