Rayside Balfour Canadians of the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League are teaming up with a group called the Northern Ontario Families of Children with Cancer to help raise funds for area families in need of financial assistance as their kids battle the disease.
The venture by the Rayside Balfour team centers around a ‘super hero’ themed jersey promotion that was first introduced four years ago by Brittany Zacerkowny when she was working for the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League under former owner Mark Burgess.
Zacerkowny was instrumental in the design of the first-ever “super-hero” themed jersey for the OHL Wolves a few years back. The jersey was a big hit with young fans and the inaugural event raised a whopping $10,000 for the NOFCC. The donation represents the highest-amount raised to date.
Notably, Zacerkowny is now the marketing manager for the NOJHL’s Rayside Balfour team that is under the first-year ownership of aforementioned OHL Sudbury owner Mark Burgess.
As the Zacerkowny-Burgess tradition continues from the OHL to the NOJHL, Rayside Balfour players will wear the unique jerseys during a home game on Thursday of this week when the first-place Canadians play host to the second-seeded Blind River Beavers in a 7 p.m. match at Chelmsford Arena.
During the game, fans will be able to place bids on each of the players jerseys with the final bid taking place at the drop-of-the-puck in the third period.
The winning bidders will receive their jersey after the game and all proceeds from the jersey auction will be donated to the above-mentioned NOFCC.
Blaine Smith, former president and general manager of the OHL Wolves who is now the managing director of the NOJHL Canadians, projects that this Thursday’s event will be a success.
“We are very pleased to partner with William Day Construction as the title sponsor for the game,” relayed Smith. “Kevin Eady and his staff at William Day Construction have stepped forward to support this great cause and their generous support of this event (that includes a donation of $1,000 to the NOFCC) guarantees that it will be a very successful fundraising event.”
From the NOFCC end, director Dayna Caruso has much good to say about the efforts of the Rayside Balfour franchise.
“Our organization is honoured that Brittany and Mark and the entire Rayside Balfour Canadians chose NOFCC as the beneficiary of this event,” Caruso began.
“The funds raised are going to support families in our community and all across Northern Ontario. Quite simply, we couldn’t do the work that we do without the support of the community and organizations like the Rayside Balfour Canadians.
“As a non-government-funded organization, we are constantly looking for new fundraising endeavours like this one. We would like to thank each and every person involved in organizing this amazing event and we would like to thank everyone for making a donation at the game.”
The NOFCC will be hosting a 50-50 draw at the game and proceeds from the sale of beer and wine at the Rayside Balfour-Blind River match will also be donated to the NOFCC, courtesy of Lou Laberge of the Horse Tavern.