Logan Couture's annual charity hockey game happened on the weekend, and for a small town, it had a large turnout. Lucan is located about 20 minutes outside of London, Ontario. It's the town that Logan lived in, and played hockey in as a youth. In fact, I was told by his family that he used to run laps, do stretches, and mainly burn off extra energy, in the area that the autograph session was to take place. I got there at three, and the crowd was already lined up. they wanted the chance to meet their hometown hero as well as other NHL'ers and hopefuls. I was snuck into the autograph area to lie in wait. I had time to plan where to take images, to go around the arena to find the best places to grab images. After all that planning, it happened in a whirlwind. I was introduced to Logan, we sat down and talked about his reasons for doing this game.
S.G.: So why did you decide to do this last year?
L.C. : Well, actually I was asked to do this last year, to take over Mark Bell's game. And I did. I enjoyed it, raised a lot of money for minor hockey. This year I decided to move it to Lucan because it's where I played growing up, and had a lot of good years here.
S.G.: How much were you able to raise last year?
L.C. :Last year,I'm not sure, most of it went to St- Maries. I just put my name to it. But this year, it's more me in charge. this year I just really took over.
S.G.: Why did you decide to take over it like that?
L.C.: Because I wanted to change it to Lucan, that's really the main reason. I wanted most of the money to come here.
S.G.: NHLPA is doing an announcement and a donation today. What does that entail?
L.C.: Well, the big announcement is that they are giving new jerseys for all 15 teams, so it comes close to $15,000.
S.G.: Since this is for children's youth hockey, what's your favourite memory in youth hockey?
L.C.: There's lots. I mean, fortunately I was able to play on some good teams, here in Lucan, growing up. A lot of championships. I have a lot of good memories growing up.
S.G.: How did you get everyone involved?
L.C.: I know a lot of these guys through working out with them, and playing against them. A lot of guys are area guys. Desjardins just drove down from Sudbury. A lot of the guys are area guys and good buddies.
S.G.: Are you and Jamie McGinn going to play on the same team?
L.C.: We're not actually. We are on different teams, I didn't have anything to do with making the teams. It was up to him, and we thought there was going to be three Colorado Avalanche guys here, but Wilson, obviously, can't come so we'll just have the two. And you can't put all the NHL guys on the same team as well...
S.G.: You have a lot of Minor guys getting involved, how did you get those guys involved?
L.C.: Well I workout with a bunch of them, like three of them. Last year was a lot of fun. The periods are 25 minutes, and there are two of them. Oh, and there's a shootout at the very end - all the players. Good for the fans, they'll enjoy that.
And with that I let him go off and get everything ready to go. The fans were anxiously waiting for him. Before that could start, I snuck Andrew Desjardins off for a few minutes to get to know a bit more about him. I often say that hockey players are into charity, but Andrew takes it to another level. For those of you that don't know, Andrew was undrafted and is currently playing the San Jose Sharks. He is also a, very new, newlywed - and gentleman his wife might just be the nicest person I ever met.
S.G.: Why did you choose to participate in this charity?
A.D.: Basically, it was more for Logan. I'm not from this area, but he basically asked me. And you know what, I'm always up for doing charity stuff. I just enjoy doing it, giving back, giving my time. It's an honour to be here, help out a friend, a community, there's stuff for the museum, so this seems to be going to all good things!
S.G. : You took part in another game on Wednesday, didn't you?
A.D.: Well actually, *laughs*, I was in a golf tournament yesterday for this thing back home [Human League] and I also did another hockey game on Wednesday night. So yeah, it's been a charity week, but you know that's how it happens.
S.G.: How many charities are you involved with?
A.D.: Umm, this is actually... well, actually I played in another golf tournament on Tuesday.
GSC: Well, that's fun, that's not work.
A.D.: Exactly, so Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday... and now Saturday. So it's been a good week. It seems like they all come at the same time.
S.G.: Well, it is when you guys are available.
A.D.: Exactly, but it's good. It's good to do this, it's very rewarding.
S.G.: So you went undrafted, and now you're a Shark. How did that come to be?
A.D.: It's just... sometimes it takes one or two people to like you. It takes persistance and hard-work, never giving up, and knowing there's always a chance. Knowing that you are good enough to play and do it.
S.G.: Do you think you appreciate it a bit more?
A.D.: Yeah, it's definitely humbling. It makes you more humble because you've been through that. For me at least. That's what I feel. But, now it's just a challenge of getting better and better. Just to be, well get better and be a more established player.
S.G.: What is your favourite charity?
GSC: He collects them.
A.D.: *Laughs*: Yeah! No, I've been a part of the one back home for a few years now. It's called the Breakfast Play Program. It's with the Human League in Sudbury, Ontario. What they do is they feed underprivileged kids breakfast before school. They also help out buying cleats for soccer, and sports equipment. So just because I've been part of that charity for so long, that's probably up there. I also do one with Derek, he does it with Columbus, and it's for kids with cancer. It's like hats for kids. We have a cancer ward in Sudbury, so we go visit the kids and raise money for them as well. That's very rewarding. You see the kids, and see how thankful they are for you just to go see them.
S.G.: Since you're involved in so many charities, do you ever see yourself wanting to put your name on one?
A.D.: Definitely. I, actually, my wife and I are planning on doing one next year. Hopefully, we aren't sure what we want to do it for yet. We don't want to cross paths with the other ones, but yeah, next year. She's in event planning, and PR stuff, so hopefully that'll work out and we can do something.
S.G.: Golf tournament of a hockey tournament.
A.D.: Golf. I think it'll be a golf tournament.
S.G.: There's enough hockey tournmanents that you are involved in?
A.D.: Well, the one back home, we'll always do that one. Then, I'll have the golf tournament in my little town. I'm from a small little town as well.
S.G.: Lively isn't that small.
A.D. Ten thousand. It's not bad, but it's tight. It's always stayed a tight-knight community. It's expanding now because Sudbury is growing. But people that I know there, I guess it seems small.
S.G.: You still know everyone.
With that, Andrew went to take his seat at the autograph table, and minor hockey kids went to get their picture taken with him.
Before the game could start there was a ceremony and a warmup. Logan, partnered with NHLPA Goals and Dreams fund to give the hockey kids of Lucan a big surprise. The new jerseys announcement was made. Logan was also given a special treat. His jersey was retired by the Lucan Minor Hockey Association.
Logan's Charity game worked out well, fans were happy and the players seemed to really enjoy themselves.
For Team Lucan: in goal, Josh Unice (UWO Mustangs), Dylan Demelo (number 22) Greg Noyes (number 20) Drew Doughty (number 8) Patrick McNeil (number 2) Andrew Desjardins (number 69) Michael Latta (number 17) Rob Flick (number 26) and, of course, Logan Couture.
Check back in later for Team Irish: and your Colorado Avalanche players.
[All images in this post were taken by, and belong to, me. ]