CELEBRITY BARTENDING EVENT BRINGS HOCKEY COMMUNITY TOGETHERNews | 7/26/2011 12:39:51 PM | Warren Kosel
Though Craig Charron was not around this time to witness it, Rochester’s hockey community once again showed why it’s among the best as more than 300 loyal fans and supporters flocked to the second annual celebrity bartending fundraising event at Murphy’s Law Irish Pub to pay homage to the Rochester Americans Hall of Famer.
Fans joined Amerks legends Jody Gage, Scott Metcalfe, Randy Cunneyworth, Rory Fitzpatrick and Nathan Paetsch and current National Hockey League stars Ryan Callahan (New York Rangers), Brian Gionta (Montreal Canadiens) and Scott Nichol (St. Louis Blues) as this year’s cast of celebrity bartenders. The Rochester Americans Alumni Association, who organized the event with the help of former Amerks defenseman Ray Maluta, was also in attendance with over 30 members. Even team president Ted Black was found behind the bar assembling his own concoctions.
“It was a great night. The guys did a great job behind the bar and it seemed like everyone really enjoyed themselves and I’m just happy to be a part of it,” said Gage, otherwise known as “Mr. Amerk” during his 11 seasons in the red, white and blue.
The event allowed the community to continue the fundraising efforts for Charron’s wife, Wendy, and her four children, but more importantly, it provided an opportunity for all those gathered to again celebrate the life of “Sharky”, who passed away last October after a 10-month battle with stomach cancer. It was a chance for those left behind to share memories, share stories and reflect on the kind of person he was. It was a chance for remembrance.
“It’s really impressive to see how many people came out this year, especially after how successful last year’s event was,” said Fitzpatrick, a lifelong resident of Rochester and former teammate of Charron’s. “This just shows what a great guy Craig was and how important he was to this team and the city of Rochester.”
Those in attendance, comprised of either avid hockey fans or strong advocates of Charron and his legacy, represent a community dedicated to serving others in ways that unite its members in solidarity under the same cause.
“He was a very popular guy and obviously very well respected in this community,” said Fitzpatrick on the overwhelming support from the people of Rochester. “All these people here tonight, it just shows you the affect he had on others.”
“It’s always nice to get the hockey community together in July and talk about the Amerks organization when hockey isn’t at the forefront of everyone’s minds,” echoed Gage. “The turnout we had this year and last, it just shows you how many people ‘Sharky’ touched throughout his life and it’s a true testament to his character as a player and a person.”
Charron was the 44th member of the Amerks Hall of Fame, having played in 335 career games (1995-98, 2000-02) with Rochester. “Sharky” was a two-time winner of the team’s MVP award, scoring title, McCulloch Trophy for community service, Fairand O’Neill Award for sportsmanship and the Booster Club’s Most Popular Player award. In 1995-96, he earned team MVP honors and helped the Amerks win their sixth Calder Cup.
Charron spent the majority of his career in the American Hockey League, playing in 490 games for teams in Fredericton, Cornwall, Lowell, St. John’s and Rochester. In eight full AHL seasons, he was named to three AHL All-Star Games and his teams made the playoffs each season. In 1997-98, he was also named the AHL’s Fred T. Hunt Award winner, which is given annually to the player that best exemplifies sportsmanship, determination, and dedication to hockey.
Fans that may have missed the event can still make donations to Craig and his family at www.CraigCharron.com. The website, established by the Amerks Alumni Association, also contains the latest news, events and auction items.
“It’s always important to help a teammate and their family when they’re in need, and sometimes that help comes when they’re gone,” said Gage. “That’s why hockey is such a special game. We’re a family off the ice and a family on the ice, especially here in Rochester.”
“Giving is what he (Charron) was all about, and now it’s time for us as alumni to carry on with his tradition.”