The Centennial Cup Tournament is over, and one of the visiting teams, the Collingwood Blues, left its mark on the city of Portage la Prairie. Team players and staff, as well as the owner, David Steele, lent a helping hand with donations and manpower to the Salvation Army Food Bank and the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 65.

PortageOnline spoke with some of the visitors and asked what these efforts are all about and how they felt about doing them.

Collingwood Blues centre Owen Sage was at the food bank carrying hampers out as well as bringing in supplies.

"It's a great feeling. Portage has been a great host of the Centennial Cup. It feels really nice to help out in the community," says Sage.

He says they help out in their hometown, Collingwood, Ontario, and had the chance to do the same thing here.  

"We know it's the right thing to do and that's kind of how our team runs," adds Sage. "Thanks to Portage for being a super great host of this tournament and we're just very happy to be here."

Pat Hudon's son, Dylan, number 8, plays for the Collingwood Blues, and was at the food bank, too, along with some other parents of team members. 

"It's pretty special," says Hudon. "We're able to do something like this and our kids are young. You teach them to do the right way at the start. It makes them better people in the end. I was born here in Manitoba back in '71 and it's kind of funny that my kid brings me back to Manitoba again. Pretty cool."


Pat HudonPat Hudon

General Manager Mike Tarantino was also at the food bank and describes the character-building efforts of helping the community.

"I think it's a great experience for the boys. Obviously, they're here for a national championship. But having a chance to give back to the community is just an added bonus, I think, for a lot of these kids," says Tarantino. "It's a privilege to play hockey and this is more real-life stuff. You try to develop hockey players, but more importantly, good people within the community. We're happy to participate and give back to the town here."

Mike TarantinoMike Tarantino, GM

Team owner David Steele says they enjoyed just helping out with the delivery of hampers. 

"Some of the players are getting an opportunity to help and they're learning a lot from some of the ladies here that are showing them," says Steele. "I guess it's just a good feeling to get out in the community and do some stuff that's away from the rink, and take our mind off all that sort of stress that they have going on. The community's really got behind us."

David SteeleOwner David Steele

He adds they had a couple of Portage's elementary schools cheering them on at one of their games, and made them feel like they were in at home. 

"So, we figured today's the best day to kind of treat them like we would do when we're at home, too."