February 25, 2010

Ex-Canadiens coming to town

PAUL BETIT

— By

Staff Writer

BATH — In less than a month, a group of hockey players from Bath Iron Works will get a chance to live a dream.

BIW's Ironclad hockey team will play a squad of Montreal Canadiens alumni on Oct. 11 at the Cumberland County Civic Center in a game to benefit Habitat for Humanity. The game starts at 2 p.m.

''With the exception of my wedding day and the birth of my children, this will probably be the biggest day of my life,'' said John Grant, a 42-year-old project manager in the engineering department at BIW who played hockey at Mt. Ararat High. ''I still can't believe I'm going to be on the ice with these guys. It's quite an honor. It's going to be an exciting time.''

Steve Bernier, the Ironclad's goalie and a Brunswick native, is excited about the chance to play against a team of National Hockey League legends.

''I think it's pretty awesome,'' he said. ''I don't know about a 54-year-old guy getting giggly, but this is awesome.

''It's not often you get to take the ice against guys who have won five or six Stanley Cup rings and are in the Hall of Fame.''

Guy Lafleur, a Hall of Famer who played on teams that won five Stanley Cups, will be among a squad of 15 former Canadiens coming to Maine.

The Montreal alumni roster includes Hall of Famers Larry Robinson and Guy Lapointe, the defensive backbone of teams that won six Stanley Cups, as well as forwards Steve Shutt and Yvon Lambert.

''You would think this is Boston Bruins' territory, but there is quite a contingent of Montreal Canadiens fans in the area,'' said Paul Rossignol, the coordinator of the event who works in BIW's procurement department. ''There are a lot of Bruins fans in the area, but there are a lot of fans who just like hockey, too.''

The BIW team was formed last year and played two benefit games at the Civic Center against a team of deputies from the Cumberland County Sheriff's department.

''We're 2-0 in that building, and we're planning on making it 3-0,'' said Bernier, a manager in BIW's production department.

''The big thing is we're helping a great charity, Habitat for Humanity,'' Rossignol said.

Volunteers from BIW have built three houses for Habitat for Humanity and intend to help put up a fourth house on Hagar Road in Topsham.

The game also will serve as a fundraising event for Project Graduation at Mt. Ararat.

Staff Writer Paul Betit can be contacted at 791-6424 or at:

pbetit@pressherald.com

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