Oh yes, and the game will be played outdoors in Moscow’s Red Square. “Obviously it’s special because we’re playing at Red Square, you don’t see many events like this very often,” winger Alexander Mogilny said Thursday.
The charity hockey game goes Dec. 9, the creation of former Russian greats Slava Fetisov and Igor Larionov. It honours the 60th anniversary of the birth of Russian hockey, the 50th anniversary of the former Soviet Union’s first hockey victory at the Olympics and the 25th anniversary of the “great five:” the KLM line of Larionov, Sergei Makarov and Vladimir Krutov and defencemen Fetisov and Alexei Kasatonov. All of them will be playing for Team Russia.
“I grew up watching those guys,” said Mogilny. “This is a nice opportunity to honour them and say thank you for what they’ve done for Russian hockey.”
Mogilny and other former NHLers like Valeri Kamensky and Vladimir Malakhov will also suit up for Russia.
Some of the proceeds from the event will go to help former Red Army hockey players who have fallen on hard times.
“When they played for the Red Army, there was no pension or anything,” Bowman said Thursday. “Some of them are really struggling. …
“I admire what Slava and Igor are trying to do here. They’re trying to raise money.”
Fetisov is the Russian minister of sport and has been active in trying to take care of the former players.
“Slava has done so many great things since he’s been in that position,” said Mogilny. “He’s put a lot of former Olympics athletes on pension plans and things like that, he’s helping any way he can.”
Bowman will coach Team World, which will include the likes of Coffey, Howe, Reed Larson, Jari Kurri, Tomas Sandstrom, Mats Naslund, Steve Shutt, Doug Brown, Esa Tikkanen and the Stastny brothers Peter and Anton.
“When I first heard the idea of going to Russia to play a game of hockey, I was thinking, ‘I don’t know, I’ve got lots going on here. I don’t really feel like going to Russia for a game,”‘ Coffey, who has never been to Russia, said from his car dealership north of Toronto. “But then I started thinking about it and talked to Igor a couple of times and he mentioned Red Square…
“I have a lot of respect for Igor and Slava Fetisov, they’re two of my most favourite people. So in the end it was really a no-brainer.”
Coffey’s concern on Tuesday was that he still hadn’t received his Russian visa. He’s slated to leave Monday. Bowman also was waiting on it.
“I’m sure they’ll be OK and get their visas, it should be fine,” said Mogilny.
Mogilny was put on the long-term injury list by the New Jersey Devils this season because of his chronic hip problems but doesn’t see a problem with playing in the charity game.
“I think I should be OK for an old-timers game,” the former Toronto and Buffalo star said with a laugh.
Coffey jokingly told Larionov that he wanted the play the whole game so that he didn’t freeze to death.
“That’s right. He told me our team would only have four defencemen. I said: ‘That’s perfect, we don’t need any more than that.’ More ice time and we can keep warm,” said the Hall of Fame defenceman.
Former Winnipeg Jets star Dale Hawerchuck was listed on the roster by Russian organizers but in fact won’t be there.
“I wish I was going, it sounds like a neat idea,” the Hall of Fame centre said Thursday. “But I told them a while back that I was booked that weekend.”