Daniel Alfredsson vs. Kathleen Edwards
Gary Roberts vs. Sam Roberts
Paul Coffey vs. Jim Cuddy
Where else can you see these kinds of mashups besides the JUNO Cup?
This is the second time Ottawa has hosted the JUNO Cup, an annual fundraiser pitting musicians against NHL greats (or “Rock vs. Jock”), in support of MusiCounts. This is the 14th edition of the game, and the record so far is slightly in favour of the NHLers with 12 wins and 1 loss (in a shootout in 2009).
Since starting in 2004, largely through the efforts of Blue Rodeo’s Jim Cuddy, the game has become a staple of JUNO weekends.
Yesterday at the team practice, Cuddy explained, “MusiCounts is a charity that raises money, gives grants to schools to buy instruments, and thus preserving their music courses. Gives out about a million bucks a year, $10,000 grants, you would think eventually you would run out of demand, but the demand keeps going up, as more schools programs get cancelled. It’s an easy sell for the musicians, and now we have a whole bevy of NHLers that are willing to be so generous with their time.”
The lineups are impressive. Playing for The Rockers include Cuddy (and his son Devin), Amanda Rheaume, Kathleen Edwards, Sam Roberts, Menno Versteeg of Hollerado, and Darryl James of The Strumbellas. They’ll be coached by the legendary Brian “Killer” Kilrea. The NHL Greats lineup includes Chris Phillips, Daniel Alfredsson, Gary Roberts, Jim Kyte and Paul Coffey. They’ll be coached by Grey Cup champion Henry Burris.
“We are very lucky in Canada for many reasons,” says the elder Cuddy, “but one of them is that our sports heroes are very nice people. We’re not dealing with huge, inflated egos, and as much as you admire their skill, you really don’t understand it until you’re on the ice with them. We the musicians always try our best to be competitive, but it comes down to making it a good time for the fans, and thanking them for supporting the cause.”
For Cuddy’s son Devin, the JUNO Cup is a unique experience. “I think one of the great things for us, on top of raising money for MusiCounts, is that it brings together a lot of different musicians from different genres. For us, we get to meet people that we’ve never crossed paths with in our musical careers.”
Jim believes this will be as competitive a JUNO Cup game as there will ever be.
“We’re going to field our strongest team ever, so this is as close as we’ll ever come. We won’t win! But this is as close as we’ll ever come.”
Vince Fontaine of Eagle & Hawk takes that prediction one step further:
“I’m going to say the Rockers are going to bring the Cup home.”
Others, like Tim D’eon of Wintersleep, are less confident:
“Problem is, whenever they decide they don’t want us to touch the puck, we’re not going to touch the puck. If they decide we’re not going to touch the puck, we’re done!”
With so many stars and personalities in one place, it’s sure to be a fun night, and a must-see in your JUNO-weekend lineup.
Puck drop for the 2017 JUNO Cup is at 7:30pm. Seats are general admission, and are available for $20+fees online.