Adam Archibald got to celebrate his birthday with 2,000 of his new friends and more than 20 NHL players at Kal Beach.
Archibald first heard about the National Hockey Players’ Association Community Celebration over the radio in Golden. His family hopped in the car and made the three-and-a-half-hour drive to meet some of his NHL heroes.
“This is one of the coolest birthdays I’ve ever had,” said Archibald, who turned 12 on Friday. “We tried to go meet the guys at the golf event yesterday, but it was closed to the public. Luckily we got to come down here today and hang out on the beach and meet all the players.”
Archibald got to spend time with his grandparents who live in Vernon and his aunt, uncle and cousins from Kelowna during the event.
Wearing a Canucks home blue jersey, Archibald had the logo covered in autographs.
“I’ve got Manny (Malhotra), Andrew Ference, Jason Chimera, (Scott) Hartnell and (Cam) Atkinson,” said Archibald.
In his hand was a fat stack of hockey cards he brought as he lined up to get David Booth, Cody Franson and Brayden Schenn’s autographs.
“Malhotra is my favourite. He was a great Canuck,” said Archibald. “It was pretty cool and very exciting to meet him.”
Many of the NHL players who took part in the NHLPA Charity Golf Classic at Predator Ridge Golf Resort on Thursday were down at the water meeting all the kids.
“We just want to give back to the community that a lot of us are from or now live here,” said Edmonton Oilers’ defenceman Ference. “We want to impact the places we call home.”
This family-friendly NHLPA Community Celebration featured a significant donation of $50,000 worth of hockey equipment made by the players’ NHLPA Goals & Dreams fund to local grassroots hockey programs.
There was live music, autograph tables and a floatable arena for paddleboard games.
The Vernon Jubilee Hospital Foundation received $7,000 raised through ticket sales and the jersey auction.
NHL veteran Jason Chimera has attended a few NHL Summer Classic events in the past and tries to make it out to these events as much as possible.
“Hopefully I get to meet a lot of kids today and sign a lot of autographs,” said the Washington Capitals’ left winger.