The city’s sports community will join together on Apr. 1 for the 30th annual Moose Jaw Kinsmen Sports Celebrity Banquet at the Heritage Inn.
This year the annual banquet will not only hit the 30-year mark, but it will also hit an impressive fundraising milestone.
“The 30th annual dinner this year, we expect it should take us over $2 million in 30 years,” says Cory Olafson, Sports Celebrity Banquet chair. “The thing that we take pride in the most is all that money stays in the City of Moose Jaw.”
“It’s a very exciting event,” adds Olafson. “It’s a lot of planning and a lot of fun and I still enjoy doing it quite a bit.”
With it being a sports celebrity banquet, the Kinsmen over the years have been able to bring in elite athletes to share their stories, MC the event, and join in the fun.
The Kinsmen this year, have gone above and beyond to bring in a star-studded line-up of special guests.
One of the biggest names to make an appearance is Finnish-born Hockey Hall of Famer Teemu Selanne. He will be joined by former Anaheim Ducks captain and Regina, SK, product Ryan Getzlaf, and former Toronto Blue Jays World Series champion and broadcaster Pat Tabler.
Former TSN broadcaster Rod Black will be back to MC the banquet.
This will be the first time in the 30-year event that a European-born player of any kind has made an appearance.
“It’s a new thing for us. I’ve heard a lot of people are excited about Teemu coming this year. He is a top-end player and had one of the best rookie seasons in NHL history.”
Selanne played 21 seasons in the NHL for the Winnipeg Jets, Anaheim Ducks, San Jose Sharks, and Colorado Avalanche. He retired in 2014 as the highest-scoring Finnish player in NHL history. He finished his career with 684 goals and 1,457 points.
Getzlaf is a household name in Saskatchewan, growing up in Regina and he himself had a very impressive NHL career with the Anaheim Ducks in 17 seasons. He was a part of the 2007 Stanley Cup-winning Ducks. Getzlaf retired from the game in 2022 with 282 goals and 1,019 points.
Getzlaf and Selanne were teammates in Anaheim from 2005 to 2014.
“Having been teammates for so long they should have some pretty good stories for everyone.”
Rounding out the guest list is Pat Tabler who some may know from his broadcasting career with TSN and Sportsnet calling games for the Toronto Blue Jays. Tabler also won the world series with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1992 in his final year as a player.
Olfson notes that the goal every year is to do as good or better than the previous year with their guest lineup.
“We’re quite happy with the lineup we’re putting forth this year.”
In the end, the goal is the same for the Moose Jaw Kinsmen Club, to raise money that will go towards helping the community.
“We do a lot with the Moose Jaw Families for Change, we’re working with the city to help with upgrades, we did a bunch of upgrades at Blackwell Diamonds and got them a new scoreboard. We’re heavily involved in the water park that is going to be built this year. Numerous youth sporting organizations carry our name, so we try to spread it around as much as we can and take pride in what we do around town.”
The work that they do for the community wouldn’t be made possible without the generous donations made by businesses, residents, and organizations at events such as the Sports Celebrity Banquet.
For the second year, in-a-row Burns and McDonnell stepped up to be the evening's title sponsor, which goes a long way to helping their fundraising goal of around $100,000.
“We have had a good chunk of our corporate sponsors been with us for almost or all the 30 years, so we owe this dinner to them. Now, we expect our profit to fall within the range of $75,000 to $100,000.”
The event will also see the presentation of a trio of awards, which are the Kinsmen Sports Achievement Award, the Discover Moose Jaw Team of the Year Award, and the Moose Jaw Express Sports Builder Award.
Tickets are limited for the event, with a table of eight going for roughly $1,500.
For more information and to buy tickets, contact Olafson at (306) 631-8893 or any Kinsmen member, and visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/mjkinsmen/ for more updates closer to the banquet.