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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Essex 73’s host Summer Bash fundraiser

by Garrett Fodor

While it is not quite hockey season yet, that did not stop the Essex 73’s from bringing members of the community together on Saturday to host the first annual Summer Bash.

  The event was a fundraiser for the hockey club and featured food trucks and live music from Leamington’s Jody Raffoul and DJ Brian ‘Neeper’ Neels. The event was held at the Essex Centre Sports Complex, on the 73’s home rink.

  Mark Nikita, Committee Chairperson, was joined by Tim Law, Gord Andry, Rick Schuchard, and Leo Viselli, who organized the event.

  Nikita said the idea for the event came from within and that the team wanted to do something not only for the fans, but also the supporters within the community who help make the club run successfully. He added that running a hockey club at this level is not easy and would not be possible without the generous support of the community.

  The event stuck with the 73’s ‘Pride and tradition’ model, as they tried as much as possible to support locally. Nikita said part of the planning process was to bring in and showcase local talent and established names. 

  Raffoul describes his music as a hybrid between classic-rock covers and the music his own band has created. He has been performing for 35 years and has produced seven original records. He added playing is his passion and that is something he has passed on to his children. His son. Billy, is signed by Universal Music Group and lives in Nashville.

  Raffoul said he was proud to play within his local community and to have been approached to perform at the first Essex 73’s Summer Bash. He noted three of his children will play hockey in Essex and he felt a sense of pride to support the local hockey club. He hopes that the event continues to grow and that he will have the chance to perform again for the event next year and evolve it into a tradition.

  After a successful turnout and event, Nikita said they are optimistic with the feedback they received from the community. He hopes to learn from this year’s experience and continue to grow the event and provide the supporters a different form of entertainment before the hockey season begins.

  The event, Nikita added, could not have been made possible without the generous support of the local businesses who were involved and sponsored the event.

  The 73’s are back on the ice August 15, from 7 to 10 p.m., as they host the first skate of the main training camp, which will help fill out the playing roster.


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