By STEPHANIE IP, 24 HOURSA Canadian war amputee and Canucks legend Richard Brodeur will come together today to announce the Heroes Hockey Challenge, a national charity benefiting wounded soldiers and their families.
“Remember that these families weren’t drafted into this. These individuals chose to go into it, but it’s much more difficult for their families,” said Master Cpl. Paul Franklin, a double amputee.
In January 2006, a convoy Franklin was riding in was hit by a suicide bomber in Kandahar, Afghanistan, severing his left leg. He later underwent 26 surgeries before his right leg was also amputated.
Since then, the Calgary native has been an advocate for amputees after realizing adequate systems weren’t in place to help wounded military veterans. While programs have improved, Franklin said there’s still work to do.
Canucks hockey great Richard Brodeur (right) and Master Cpl. Paul Franklin (left) are part of the Heroes Hockey Challenge, a charity benefiting wounded soldiers and their families. (CARMINE MARINELLI/ 24 HOURS)
“It’s a bit of a shock to a system that usually kicks you out if you had a bad knee. Now you have all these people who want to go back to work.”
The charity will see galas and charity hockey games in Vancouver, Calgary, Montreal, Quebec City, Toronto and Halifax in the early new year. The events will feature auctions, celebrity guests, NHL stars and live entertainment. The games, taking place in each city’s official NHL arena, will pit former NHL greats against Canadian soldiers.
The Vancouver game, Feb. 1 at Rogers Arena, will see the proceeds going towards funding military family resource centres and the Amputee Coalition of Canada.
Ex-Canucks goalie Brodeur, one of many NHL stars confirmed to play, admitted military support is a topic that can be a political landmine.
“I’m not a political guy, or a guy who wants to do politics,” King Richard said. “These guys come out with stories that you would not believe, physically and mentally. That, to me, was very important.
“As hockey players, we risk getting booed and that’s it. They risk their lives.”