In Quebec, the province that is fighting the legality of the NHL lockout–the case has been appealed and is still being studied by the Quebec Labour Board–there is the possibility of some NHL-level hockey being played this fall regardless of what happens at the bargaining table.
According to Andy Strickland on TrueHockey.com, rumor has it that a gaggle of Quebecois players from various NHL teams may form two special teams to play against one another in games where all the proceeds would go to charity.
Some of the players who could form these special teams include Patrice Bergeron (Boston Bruins), Daniel Briere (Philadelphia Flyers), Marc-Andre Fleury (Pittsburgh Penguins), Claude Giroux (Philadelphia) and David Perron (St. Louis Blues).
The idea would be to have one team based in Montreal and the other in Quebec City. The two squads would then travel the province, playing weekly games, donating the money to charity. There’s the possibility that the teams could add Ottawa and Toronto to their itinerary too. Though all NHL rinks are inaccessible to players, Quebec is dotted with QMJHL arenas that would probably love to host special games with the sport’s big stars.
Of course, to have two teams, you’re going to ideally need four lines of three forwards, six defensemen and two goalies, so 20 players total at least, 40 for both special charity squads, quite a lot more than the five names above. For the purposes of this speculation, I’ve limited potential players to those born in Quebec and those who are current players. Maybe Jonathan Bernier (Los Angeles Kings) could serve as another goalie along with Jose Theodore (Florida Panthers) and Martin Biron (New York Rangers)? David Desharnais (Montreal Canadiens) could play center as well.
Maxim Lapierre (Vancouver Canucks) would have great fun chirping everyone from the bench when it’s not his shift. Max Talbot (Philadelphia) could make the lineup pretty heavy on Flyers, but he’s pretty charitable, so he might take part as well. Kris Letang (Pittsburgh) can be ideal on defense. Of course, that’s not enough either, but more players’ names may really surface in more rumors about this potential project too.
As for a charitable cause, the players could choose Right to Play, or maybe Mind Check–especially if Canucks participate. The You Can Play Project is also a possible choice, as are Quebec-based charities.
Considering that the charitable arms of NHL teams will also be affected–and badly–by the lockout, it’s very nice to hear that some players are already thinking about how to do what they love in order to help others.