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Roenick to headline sports celebrity dinner

The man who once told NHL fans to kiss his ass is coming to Thunder Bay .

The man who once told NHL fans to kiss his ass is coming to Thunder Bay.

Jeremy Roenick, who spent 20 years terrorizing NHL goaltenders and telling anyone who would listen his thoughts on the game, tops the bill at the 2010 TBayTel Sports Celebrity Dinner, scheduled for the Valhalla Inn on June 23 in support of Big Brother Big Sisters.

“Jeremy Roenick, among other things, has always been known as a great speaker. He always has something great to say and he’s not afraid to say it,” said John Lockyer, a member of the annual dinner’s board of directors.

“Obviously we’re not going to be disappointed with anything he has to say. And I’m sure after his 20-year career he has a lineup of stories to tell. I have no idea what to expect there, but I think Jeremy is going to offer some good entertainment there.”  

Melissa Hollingsworth, who won bronze for Canada in skeleton at the 2006 Winter Olympic Games, will also speak, continuing the dinner’s tradition of bringing the finest female Olympians to the city.

“It’ll be interesting to hear what she has to say,” Lockyer said.

But all eyes will be on Roenick, who finished a 20-year career last spring, compiling 513 goals, 703 assists and 1,216 points in 1,363 games with Chicago, Phoenix, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and San Jose.

That makes him the third most prolific American scorer in NHL history, and at every stop he made, controversy seemed to follow, particularly as he settled into the golden years of his likely hall-of-fame career.

In 1996 he waged a public battle with Colorado goalie Patrick Roy, an exchange that ended with Roy famously saying, “I cannot really hear what Jeremy says because I’ve got my two Stanley Cup rings plugging my ears.”

Eight years later Roenick called NHL commissioner Gary Bettman a Neandrathal after being handed a one-game suspension for tossing a water bottle on the ice at an official Roenick claimed missed a call.

In 2006, the now 40-year-old Boston native claimed he was blackballed by USA Hockey, who left him off the American Olympic hockey team that year.

In 2009 he said defenceman Chris Chelios got less playing time because his coach, Mike Babcock, had a bias against American defencemen.

Within the past year, already comfortable in retirement, Roenick questioned the addition of Chris Drury to the 2010 U.S. team, once again to the consternation of Hockey USA officials, saying Mike Modano would be a much better leader in that spot.

The sometimes TV analyst with TSN later apologized when Drury scored a key goal in the American’s round-robin victory over Canada.

Still, Lockyer said Roenick’s controversial side never came up in conversation when potential speakers were being discussed for the dinner.

“It was never mentioned,” Lockyer said. “But since announcing it, it’s been brought up several times. We are certainly not opposed to the attention he brings and the interest that people have in him for that reason.  

Tickets are $150 and available by calling 344-1800, or can be purchased from any TBayTel Sports Celebrity dinner director.


Leith Dunick

About the Author: Leith Dunick

A proud Nova Scotian who has called Thunder Bay home since 2002, Leith has been the editor of Thunder Bay Source for 17 years and has served a similar role with since 2009. Twitter: @LeithDunick
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