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Événements 13 February 2024

Foundation hits jackpot at inaugural Dream Big Casino Night

Foundation hits jackpot at inaugural Dream Big Casino Night

Habs players traded their hockey visors for card dealer visors for a night of gaming for a good cause on Thursday.

The Montreal Canadiens Children’s Foundation hosted its inaugural Dream Big Casino Night at the Casino de Montréal, raising $162,483 to get local youths active.

Players, their spouses, coaches, management, and guests came dressed to the nines for the night out on the town. Habs captain Nick Suzuki and his girlfriend, Caitlin Fitzgerald, notably co-organized the event, in collaboration with lead sponsors Loto-Quebec and Air Canada.

“They’ve been a big support for us, and we wouldn’t have been able to pull it off without them,” said Suzuki of the corporate support the event garnered in its first year. “We’re here to support the Children’s Foundation; all the proceeds are going towards that, but we’re having a good time. All the guys are having fun with it.”

Thursday’s festivities started with a glammed up red-carpet entrance before moving to the main event upstairs where the Habs’ dealing talents were put to the test. The players rotated stations throughout the night, welcoming some 300 guests in attendance to Blackjack, Roulette, and War tables against a backdrop of live music.

“It’s another opportunity for us to be together in a different setting, and to continue to learn more about each other in a new environment,” explained Montreal defenseman Mike Matheson.

David Savard for his part is no stranger to Casino Nights in the National Hockey League. The team drew inspiration from other teams around the League, like the Columbus Blue Jackets whom Savard played for previously. Suzuki and Fitzgerald also credited the Pittsburgh Penguins and New York Rangers for the idea, but underscored the all-hands-on-deck approach to the Canadiens’ rendition.

“It was a collaboration between [the Foundation, sponsors and the team], and it was something we were really looking forward to,” Fitzgerald said. “We have such a good market here, so hopefully it’s something we can keep doing,” she added.

Despite the setting, there were no poker faces on Thursday. Instead, smiles and laughter filled the dimly lit hall inside the Cabaret du Casino de Montréal. Call it to puck luck as some players, like Brendan Gallagher, spun their own digits in Roulette, while others, like Cole Caufield, landed on a certain teammates’ (14) instead. Fictitious funds guaranteed no losers, but when the curtain dropped on the “Vintage Vegas” themed soirée, the amount raised was very real.

“It’s not about hockey tonight,” emphasized Jake Allen. “Tonight’s about raising money for a good cause. We’re with good people that are great sponsors for our team and are here for the same reason, so hockey’s secondary.”

The total purse will support the Foundation in its mission to offer underprivileged children equal opportunities to be physically active and play sports now and into the future.