Island youth were celebrated in Summerside recently with sport industry professionals saying supporting youngsters is a great way to build them up for success.
“They are our future, I think it’s so important to build them up in these years, to build confidence and self-worth. They’re building a community and a foundation going forward,” said Evanka Osmak
Osmak, a SportsNet host, and co-host Ken Reid, a Nova Scotia native, were in the city for the Boys and Girls Club of Summerside’s annual Celebrity Dinner Gala.
For the event, big names of the sports world came to support the cause.
Reid shared in the excitement of seeing hockey legends and fans alike.
“It’s wicked, being a hockey geek myself. I can ask all these other hockey guys my questions. I also got to meet Randy and Ricky from the ‘Trailer Park Boys.’”
The Gala is an encouraging event, showing solidarity in the community, said Osmak.
“Seeing the local people and the celebrities rallying together and getting involved, it’s fantastic.”
“Children are the most important thing we have. If you help build a kid up, they could turn out to be the next Evanka Osmak,” Reid chimed in.
Among the celebrities was Montreal Canadiens legend Peter ‘Little M’ Mahovlich.
Events like the Gala shows how the community come together, said Mahovlich.
“It shows all the support the Boys and Girls Club gets and needs. The community and businesses are behind them. To see all the celebrities and government officials here, it’s fabulous.”
But celebrities weren’t the only ones at the Gala.
Island-resident David McNeill is a long-time hockey fan and was thrilled to see players of the past.
“It’s great to see the old players, they have the best stories. I’m a big collector, I’ve got over 500 signatures, so I can finally cross some of my list. It’s amazing to hear their stories and finally meet them.”
McNeill said the Boys and Girls club is essential to any community.
“It’s sad to know there are a lot of children who might go without breakfast or are need of help, and for places like the Club to give them support, it’s amazing. They give the youth the chance to grow, I’m a big supporter.”
John Finn is another hockey fan from the old days and was thrilled to see the former Canadiens up close.
“I find they have humility and a genuine love of the game. The way they experienced hockey, it’s the way us old-timers experienced it too. Not to take away from the younger players, but they show a sense of pride and passion.”
Finn said he wishes fundraisers like the Gala were nation-wide.
“I’m from Cape Breton, and I wish we had something like this there. We need to raise money that’s going to help children. They’re the tomorrow.”