MONTREAL, QC — The Five Hole For Food (FHFF) team came to Montreal yesterday, on their eighth day of travels, to play a game of ball hockey. But this wasn’t just a regular ball hockey game. For the third consecutive year, FHFF founder Richard Loat is driving across Canada from Saint-John’s to Vancouver in hopes of collecting 100,000 pounds of food for nation-wide food banks.
The initiative began in 2010 when Loat was inspired by the Olympics and saw what sports can do to bring people together. “I just wanted to use hockey as that vehicle for social change,” Loat explained. What started off as a road trip with nine games in 11 days has now grown to include 13 cities in 19 days.
Dozens of people of all ages showed up at the Bell Centre yesterday afternoon with their hockey sticks and non-perishable food items. Many were already aware that Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson would make an appearance, as well as Habs alumni, so excitement was in the air. When Molson arrived, media outlets were on scene with many questions regarding both the Habs and the event. As a proud sponsor of FHFF, Molson showed great interest in the event, explaining that it was for a great cause. In other news, knowing that many Habs fans are worried about PK Subban’s contract situation, I asked Molson what the deal was. “All I know is that negotiations are ongoing and I’m sure it’ll work out,” he said. Many of us can breathe a sigh of relief and, according to Molson, because of Subban’s age he can sign whenever he wants before the season begins. He seemed confident during our one-on-one; as I joked that many Montrealers would be heartbroken if Subban left.
Habs alumni Gilbert Delorme and Sergio Momesso were also on deck, strapping their sneakers on and getting ready to sweat. The alumni team, which consisted of Momesso, Delorme and Molson, dominated. Both Molson and Delorme blasted some hard shots past the defending goalie. Ex-Hab Réjean Houle was also there to show his support, but did not play.
Getting a foundation to travel across the country is hard work, but what’s even trickier is spreading the word from city to city. Montreal Marketing Consultant Na’eem Adam explains that each city has an “All Star” to help generate buzz in that location. In La Belle Province, he was it. “My blog (@Mechant_Mangeur) is about food and hockey, so it was a no brainer when I heard about the event,” Adam said. Putting his marketing skills to the test, Adam helped get Montreal rapper Annakin Slayd (@AnnakinSlayd) to join the fun and brought along tasty treats with the people from Pretzel & Compagnie.
After eight days on the road, the FHFF team reached Montreal with over 20,000 pounds of food from Atlantic Canada. In Montreal, over 4,000 pounds of food was donated, beating last year’s record! Their last stop is on July 21, where they will take over the streets of Vancouver.
You can listen to Richard Loat and Geoff Molson’s interviews below:
Translation for Geoff Molson text
Today, Molson Canadian the brand, and myself are here. The Molson Canadian family is a big part of the Quebec community and the relationship between Molson Canadian and hockey is very strong. We are proud of that.
We hope that every year is an opportunity for improvement and this year in particular is special because everyone in management is new and I am very happy with the work they have done so far.
I don’t know him [Michel Therrien] very well but we are happy that he is the new coach. He is someone that has a lot of experience in the NHL, with the Montreal Canadiens and the Pittsburgh Penguins. We hope that he is ready to return to Montreal and I am certain that he wants to win.
Marc Bergevin is all about team spirit. He wants his entourage to have the same spirit and that are ready to play important roles anywhere in our organization, be it in the junior league, the AHL or the NHL. People that will help our young players.
Marc Bergevin’s priority is to find men with character—men that will be helpful and show character in the dressing room or on the ice.