COVID-19 may have ended their school year early, but the athletes at Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute in Vankleek Hill, Ontario, still got sent out with a star-studded banquet.
A slew of current and former NHL players, including Rick Middleton, Theo Fleury and Mark Jankowski, prominent women's players Cassie Campbell-Pascall, Jayna Hefford and Marie-Philip Poulin, NHL referee Wes McCauley and NHL linesman Steve Barton were guest award presenters at the school's virtual athletic awards banquet.
Georges Laraque served as virtual master of ceremonies, Middleton, ex-NHL players Guy Larose, Sheldon Souray and John Scott also presented awards, and Hockey Hall of Famer Bernie Parent and former Toronto Maple Leafs forward Wendel Clark each offered congratulations to the Rebels and Warriors athletes.
Actors Gerry Dee, Greg Proops and Colin Mochrie, former Olympic gold medalist Jamie Sale and Indycar racer James Hinchcliffe were also among the 33 celebrity award presenters for the school, located about halfway between Montreal and Ottawa.
According to The Review of Vankleek Hill, Barton, a graduate of the school, came up with the idea of a star-studded banquet when he spoke with physical education teacher Dan Tremblay. Barton suggested Tremblay reach out to McCauley, which he did before contacting stars from all walks of life.
"I started sending messages to anybody who I could see that was either on social media or had a 'contact us' page and told them what I was doing and why I was doing it," Tremblay told The Review. "I went so far as to ask famous people who would never do it in 100 years because they are so bombarded with messages, but the majority of people said 'yes' right away."
The virtual banquet dropped on YouTube on June 19.