Cory Morton Never ones to shy away from politically charged tracks, Anti-Flag…
- Posted on Mar 25th 2011 1:30PM by Jason MacNeil
Chris Young, CP
The Juno Cup, an annual celebrity hockey game pitting former National Hockey League players (NHL Greats) against a team of Canadian artists (The Rockers), held its practice Thursday afternoon to prepare for the big game tonight. And for Billy Talent bassist Jon Gallant, it's like a temporary dream coming true.
"For me this is the best part of the Junos," Gallant -- playing for the fifth time -- tells Spinner as teammates from Sloan (Chris Murphy and Andrew Scott), the Sadies (Sean Dean and Mike Belitsky) and Hollerado (Menno Versteeg) skate by. "I always wanted to be a hockey player before anything else when I was a kid, and I'm kind of satisfying that to a degree."
The game -- which has seen the NHL side lose only once -- benefits MusiCounts, Canada's music education charity associated with CARAS, The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Gallant says the charity had a big influence on him growing up.
"I know what it can do, because in my high school there were musical instruments," he says. "It was extremely beneficial for me to have them there. It's very fortunate to be able to offer that to kids, it's awesome."
Meanwhile singer-songwriter Kathleen Edwards -- sporting the number 69 and 'Puck Bunny' on the back of her jersey -- says the charity can assist in developing young musicians simply by maintaining school instruments.
"I was in public school right when all the instruments that were left were either broken or had been stolen or pilfered," she says. "And schools can't afford to replace them, they can't afford to have these instruments in stock, they can't afford to have them fixed because it costs a lot of money.
"I still can't see how education can be complete without an element of music, and this is like a lifeline," she adds. "This is going to save kids' lives who don't know what they want to do in life, and they're going to connect with music. Even if they don't become musicians, it's going to be something major in their life."
Barenaked Ladies drummer Tyler Stewart -- much like singer-songwriter teammate Sarah Harmer -- believes such programs are vital considering the current economic climate.
"The arts programs are some of the first ones to be cut in these tight school budgets these days," he says, adding how Barenaked Ladies basically began through school music camps. "MusiCounts is doing incredible work in insuring that kids have a chance to pursue their dreams."
As for the game itself, the musicians led by Blue Rodeo's Jim Cuddy seem to cherish their one win in Vancouver back in 2009, a 12-11 shootout victory.
"I was there," Edwards, who's about a month from wrapping up her new studio album, says. "I might have been responsible for two of those goals, pretty goals actually. It's impossible to win against them, but that's just me. I have low expectations so then if we win, it's like Green Bay Super Bowl time, and I'm into it."
Harmer, the only other lady on the Rockers, says Edwards can certainly hold her own on the ice.
"We both needed a little advice putting our gear on, so I helped her and she helped me," Harmer says with a laugh. "But she has played in the Cup before and she was on that Vancouver team, she doesn't need my help."
The Juno Cup starts at 7:30PM EST tonight at Toronto's Ricoh Coliseum.