2017 Ice Breaker Hockey Game attendance best one to date

Over 700 people
attend banquet portion

Katrina Owens
Lakeside Leader

Slave Lake sure was packed with people from all over Canada and the States late last month for the annual Ice Breaker Hockey Game, including Wayne Gretzky himself.
In fact; The Leader hears from event organizer Shawn Gramlich that over 700 people attended the banquet alone.
“We had 500 people on the floor and the rest were upstairs and we had to literally turn away people from the game – it was packed!” he says. “We had a young couple from San Diego come up to both play in the game; people from Toronto, Montreal, Kelowna, Los Angeles and Carolina all came to attend the banquet. Wayne doesn’t do these sorts of events so people were pretty excited to come.”
Aside from Gretzky, country music star Gord Bamford, singer Julia Vos and other hockey players, including Owen Nolan, Marty McSorley, Fernado Pisani, and Vern Fiddler attended the annual Ice Breaker Hockey Game.
“I think it was unreal!” says Gramlich. “We had double in attendance from what we’ve had before. We’ve heard from the hotels that they were filled up – it was a great weekend for tourism and a great weekend for Slave Lake.”
Gramlich didn’t have an exact number yet for how much the event raised for the Landon Persson Memorial Fund, but he was able to say the game and banquet were a financial success.
“We did make money for sure – more than we’ve ever made before,” he says. “This year we don’t have anything set in place yet for where the money will be going; we have no commitment to disperse it out, so to speak.”
As for Gretzky’s opinion on our humble abode, Gramlich says ‘The Great One’ had a great time!
“He was really impressed with the town,” he says. “I think he’ll be back.”


Teams participating in 2017 Ice Breaker Hockey Game come together before the puck drops for a picture.

Wayne Gretzky waving to fans and fellow dinner guests on Aug. 26th, 2017 inside the Slave Lake MRC fieldhouse.


A glimpse into what the floor seats looked like during the evening.


Gord Bamford warming up before his set at the banquet.


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