Saturday afternoon saw a special gathering of Russian and North American hockey legends as the two squads faced off to help raise money for Hurricane Sandy relief in Newark. A strong number of people came out for the cause on short notice as the majority of the lower bowl and some suites were full.
All ticket sales, jersey auctions (both on and off the ice) helped raise over $50,000 to the towns still recovering from the devastating storm that hit my beloved home state last October.
The likes of Alexei Kasatonov, Valery Kamensky, 66-year-old Alexander Yakushev, Darius Kasparaitis, and Alexei Yashin were among the notable names for the Russian squad. On the other side players such as Ken Daneyko, Brian Leetch, Sergei Brylin, Billy Guerin, Claude Lemieux, and Brendan Shanahan suited up for New Jersey as each player represented a specific shore town. Older legends such as Phil Esposito, Chico Resch and Sergei Makarov helped coach their respective clubs.
As for the game itself, the two teams were prohibited from taking slapshots or body checks. All penalties were automatic penalty shots which allowed the Russians to add to their continuously. A hattrick by Andrei Kovalenko was the standout performance for the Russians who would withstand a North American comeback in the final frame to win 7-6. Shanahan, Grant Marshall, Guerin among others found the back of the net for NA.
One highlight included Guerin taking a slapshot on a penalty shot only to see it ring off the post and then award the Russians to shoot their own penalty shot for the slapper. After the game, select players signed autographs for fans on the ice and yours truly had the pleasure of meeting Sergei Brylin and Alexei Yashin.