Stingers put smiles on kids faces at Shriners

Shrine Bowl to hit $1-million mark

Preparations for the 32nd annual Shrine Bowl, benefiting the Shriners Hospital for Children, are underway. A few players of the Concordia Stingers football team made the yearly visit to the hospital on Sept. 26. With this year’s donations, the total amount of  money raised from the Shrine Bowl will hit the $1 million mark.

Head coach Brad Collinson, cornerback Khadeem Pierre, linebacker Jersey Henry, defensive tackle Brandon Pacheco, centre Marc-Antoine Sevigny, and defensive linemen Maurice Simba and Michael Sanelli all participated in the hospital visit.

Maurice Simba (foreground) said he enjoys putting smiles on kids’ faces. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

The players visit to patients throughout the hospital was accompanied by this year’s Shrine Bowl King and Queen, Saoud, 16, and Victoria,14, who are also patients at the Shriners. All of the players involved in this year’s walk around the hospital expressed how much they enjoy the experience and being able to interact with the patients.

“It’s been an honour to participate in this event every year,” Sanelli said. “I realize how blessed we are to play the sport. You put a smile on the kid’s face and brighten up their day and it’s an honour.”

Simba also said it’s great to make the kids happy and to see a smile on their faces. “I think it’s good that we do this as a program and on a personal level too,” he said.

“Seeing kids and making them happy is a big deal,” Pierre added. “It’s nice to give back.”

David Merrett, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Governors, expressed his feelings on being able to reach that one-million-dollar mark.

“The people who started this way back never would have imagined raising this amount because it just seemed unreachable,” Merrett said. “But as the years went on, and the dollar changed, it seemed reachable.”

Michael Sanelli, Marc-Antoine Sevigny and Brandon Pacheco all made the trip to the hospital. Photo by Mackenzie Lad.

The Honorary Chairman of the event this year is former Stingers head coach Gerry McGrath. He coached the team from 2000 to 2013, and played in the CFL for the Montreal Alouettes, Montreal Concordes and Saskatchewan Roughriders for six years.

“I’ve been involved with the Shriners and this game for many years,” McGrath said. “It’s always special to see what they’ve done and see it get to the one million mark.”

The Stingers play in the Shrine Bowl at home on Sept. 30 against the Université de Laval Rouge et Or. Canadian singer Sara Diamond will perform the Canadian national anthem, and deliver a special halftime performance. Kick-off is at 2 p.m., with money raised from ticket sales donated to the Shriners Hospital for Children.

Main photo by Mackenzie Lad.

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