And everyone in attendance were not disappointed with the number and caliber of personalities who appeared at the breakfast. First there was NHLPA Executive Director Donald Fehr (pictured above), who received the Sports Personality of the Year Award for his “inspiring contribution to the sport of hockey," especially how he managed to end the players' lockout earlier this year and salvaged the 2012-2013 NHL season. When asked about his trademark cool, calm demeanour, Fehr glibly replied "I've been accused many times of not having a personality!"
The 1993 Stanley Cup champion Canadiens team were honoured at the breakfast, and former coach Senator Jacques Demers, plus players Oleg Petrov, Mathieu Schneider and Sergio Momesso were in attendance to reflect back on that exciting playoff run 20 springs ago. And Demers expressed his confidence with this year's Habs squad, and their chances to finally win the franchise's 25th Stanley Cup. "The Habs are on the right track. They have the best defenceman around in P.K. Subban. But it starts with goaltending, and if Carey price stands up a la Patrick Roy in 1993, then their chances are good to win the Cup."
Montreal businessman Roy Salomon was this year’s Guest of Honour for his outstanding contribution and leadership to the development of Maccabi Canada. The Brooklyn native (and a member of the Duke Blue Devils basketball team), Salomon moved to Montreal in 1960 and got involved with the Canadian Maccabi team in 1969, when he was part of its basketball squad. He now plans to be part of the Canadian Maccabi delegation, along with 9000 other athletes at this summer's Maccabiah Games in Israel. "I don't remember an occasion when we weren't proud of our athletes," commented Salomon during his lengthy -- yet heartfelt -- acceptance speech at the breakfast.
The breakfast had plenty of highlights (including a video praising Roy Salomon's contributions to the Montreal sports scene from much beloved Habs Hall of Famer Jean Beliveau ... a hush fell over the packed ballroom when he began speaking). One highlight that practically every attendee tried to take advantage of was having their pictures taken with three of the NHL's top trophies: the Prince of Wales and Conn Smythe trophies and of course, the Stanley Cup. And believe me, when you find yourself standing next to these highly regarded pieces of NHL hardware, you can't resist the opportunity to have a picture of yourself posing alongside them, as if you just won one of those treasured awards (hence the picture of me below with two of the three trophies ... the Stanley Cup was located at the other end of the room!).
And finally, kudos to the breakfast's planning committee (lead by co-chairs Mike Wagen and Bram Naimer) for planning another topnotch events that the 600 local sports fans enjoyed immensely, and for the many seniors who will greatly benefit from living a dignified life thanks to the proceeds that were raised from the event.