The Lethbridge Hurricanes have reached into the team’s past in putting together the lineup for the team’s 12th annual Celebrity Sports Dinner, taking place Jan. 27 at the Coast Hotel and Conference Centre.
The dinner’s celebrity guest list includes Jamie McLennan, a former Hurricanes goaltender who now serves as a hockey analyst with TSN.
He will be joined by TSN SportsCentre hosts Kate Beirness and Natasha Staniszewski.
McLennan, nicknamed “Noodles,” played parts of three seasons with the Hurricanes from 1989 until 1991. His nickname originated from his habit of making his own pasta to take with him on team bus trips as an alternative to poor-quality diner food before games.
McLennan grew up in Edmonton during the hey-day of the star-studded Oilers teams of the 1980s featuring the likes of Wayne Gretzky, Jari Kurri, Mark Messier, Glenn Anderson, Paul Coffey and Grant Fuhr. His appetite for hockey whetted by those glory days, McLennan went on to play in 97 regular season games with the Western Hockey League’s Hurricanes, posting a record of 52-22-6 and an .888 save percentage. He was a part of the Canes’ 1990 and 1991 WHL Final appearances, and was the 1991 winner of the Del Wilson Trophy awarded to the WHL’s top goaltender.
Drafted in the third round by the New York Islanders, he went on to play 254 National Hockey League games with the Islanders, St. Louis Blues, Minnesota Wild, Calgary Flames, New York Rangers and Florida Panthers, registering a 2.68 goals-against average and an .898 save percentage over 11 NHL seasons.
In 1997-98, he was named the winner of the NHL’s Bill Masterton Trophy, awarded to the player who best exemplifies the qualities of perseverance, sportsmanship and dedication to hockey. That season, his first of three with St. Louis, saw McLennan record a 2.17 GAA in 30 games and a .903 save percentage. He followed that up with seasons with a 2.38 and a stellar 1.96 GAA in 33 and 19 games respectively.
The next year, 2000-01, with the expansion Minnesota Wild, McLennan played a career-best 38 games, producing a 2.64 GAA and a .905 save percentage.
Three seasons later, with the Flames, McLennan appeared in 26 games, collecting a career-high four shutouts and .910 save percentage, along with a superb 2.20 GAA.
He wound up his NHL playing career with the Flames in 2006-07, then played a season of Asia League Ice Hockey with the Nippon Paper Cranes in Japan. His bio on NHL.com notes that while in Japan, he gained popularity off the ice by demonstrating his karaoke skills for teammates and fans.
He later returned to the Flames, serving as director of goaltender development, a scout and an assistant coach under then-head coach Brent Sutter from 2009-11.
McLennan followed that by doing some television work for TSN, and remains a well-respected hockey analyst with the network.
He’s also the author, with Ian Mendes, of the book “The Best Seat in the House: Stories from the NHL — Inside the Room, on the Ice and on the Bench,” published in 2012.
Staniszewski and Beirness have the distinction of being TSN’s first all-female SportsCentre anchor duo, following in the footsteps of the popular Jay Onrait and Dan O’Toole, who left TSN for the bright lights of American television in 2013.
Staniszewski, who hails from Edmonton, began her broadcasting career in 2006 at CTV Yorkton working as a news reporter. She went on to climb the Bell Media ranks with stops at CTV Prince Albert, CTV Saskatoon and CTV Edmonton before moving to Toronto to join TSN in 2009. She has hosted SportsCentre since 2011.
Beirness, who is originally from Port Perry, Ontario, began her broadcasting career at Sportsnet as a booking agent for the network’s on-air commentators. She went on to volunteer with Rogers TV for two years before accepting a part-time sports anchoring position with Rogers TV. She then moved to A-Channel in Barrie, Ontario before landing with TSN in 2009.
The Hurricanes Celebrity Sports Dinner will begin at 6 p.m. with cocktails while the program will follow at 7 p.m. The night will include a silent and live auction.
Tickets for the event are $150 per person or $1,250 for a table of 10. Tickets, along with sponsorship opportunities, can be purchased by calling Dylan or Tamara at 403-328-1986.
Alternatively, you can download the registration form online at http://lethbridge
hurricanes.com/, and email it to admin@lethbridge
hurricanes.com or fax to 403-329-1622.
In addition, prior to the event, from 4:30–6 p.m., there will be a special VIP reception held with McLennan, Staniszewski and Beirness for an additional $50 per person. Limited seats are available for the reception and you must have a ticket to the dinner to be eligible to purchase a ticket for the VIP reception.