Prince Rupert’s military and rugby communities received an NHL assist and two new honorary members this week.
Former NHL player and broadcaster Louie DeBrusk and his son, Boston Bruins forward Jake DeBrusk both arrived in the city on Tuesday, June 26 where they helped raise money for both the Princess Patricia Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) and youth rugby programs in Prince Rupert.
Both DeBrusks were at Cargo on First Avenue East where they participated in a benefit dinner to meet local fans, and provided signed jerseys for a silent auction, the proceeds of which will help fund a rugby camp taking place in Prince Rupert either later this year or spring of 2019. In total, the dinner raised $7,300 in donations and sponsorship.
At the end of the evening, the Seamen gifted the DeBrusks with the team’s jerseys and made them a part of their roster as thanks for their time and efforts.
“Both of them have a sense of community and helping the community,” said Lindsay Gidney, a former PPCLI member and current member of the Prince Rupert Seamen. “It’s really great to both of them here helping us.”
The DeBrusks were also in Prince Rupert for a fishing trip — on June 27 and 28 — that was auctioned as part of a Heroes Hockey Challenge fundraiser for the PPCLI late last year. They both said it was an easy choice to get involved with both initiatives.
“It’s so dear to everybody’s hearts because of what they sacrifice and give up for what we do,” said Louie DeBrusk. “Any time we can give back and help out in any way, for me it’s a no-brainer and it’s really easy to get on board.”
Gidney said the Seamen are always looking to grow the game of rugby in Prince Rupert because it gives young athletes of any kind an opportunity to participate and be active in sport.
“There are positions for all types of kids,” he said. “Small, tall, short, fast, not as fast. It’s a great sport and kids can really enjoy it.”