The bar has been raised again at the UNBC Timberwolves Legacy Breakfast.
The third instalment of the annual event raised more than $54,000, with all funds raised going directly to scholarships and bursaries for Timberwolves athletes.
Stanley Cup champion and Olympic gold medalist Theo Fleury delivered a keynote speech titled Don’t Quit Before the Miracle, for the 500 in attendance at the Charles Jago Northern Sport Centre on Feb. 7.
UNBC Athletic Director Loralyn Murdoch says Fleury’s speech carried an important message.
“He is real. This is his story. It has everything to do with life,” she said. “It just really resonated with everyone. Everyone knows someone who has been through what he has been though, so to see him come out on top. Don’t quit before the miracle.”
The 2016 breakfast, featuring Canadian Football Hall of Famer Michael ‘Pinball’ Clemons, raised $52,000. The inaugural event in 2015 with five-time Olympic medallist Hayley Wickenheiser raised more than $40,000.
Murdoch says the event gets better every year, and ideas for next year’s breakfast have already begun.
“Every year it goes up. Three years and three phenomenal speakers,” she said. “The community has been so supportive. This year was a new record for attendance, and we really have to figure out what we have to do to get people back in the room and provide them with a really great experience.”
For the third consecutive year, Canadian Tire was the presenting sponsor of the event. Along with sponsoring the Timberwolves Legacy Breakfast, Canadian Tire and Capri Insurance sponsored an open event on Feb. 6 at the College of New Caledonia, where Fleury addressed at-risk youth.
“There were 200 people in attendance, and Theo’s message there was free to all. It was an open environment, and it was hugely important for us to offer that to this community,” said Murdoch. “A huge thank you to Canadian Tire. Without them, Theo would have never been able to come.”
The entirety of funds raised will go towards scholarships and bursaries for Timberwolves athletes. Murdoch says an increase in that budget will prove invaluable as UNBC strives for greater things in the Canada West.
“Without scholarships and bursaries, we would not be able to attract the best student athletes to UNBC,” she said. “It is so important for our coaches to go out into the community, or the province, nationally or internationally, and provide students with some funding.”