Vankleek Hill Collegiate Institute ended its year on a very memorable note. The Ontario high school’s virtual year-end awards ceremony featured over 30 celebrity guests, including a pair of NHL officials.
The effort was coordinated by physical education teacher Dan Tremblay after a conversation with National Hockey League linesman Steve Barton, a Vankleek Hill native. He pulled in referee Wes McCauley to take part, and the list quickly grew.
Tremblay spoke about the process in The Review:
“We had about five (guest speakers) at that point. Not super big names so far, but then I put a line out to [comedian/actor] Gerry Dee of ‘Whose Line Is It Anyway’ and a few days later he said he was in and to send him what I wanted him to say. I had also put out a couple of feelers to curlers Craig Savill and Kaitlyn Lawes and they told me yes also right away, so at that point it was a ‘go big or go home’ kind of thing.”
“I started sending messages to anybody who I could see that was either on social media of some sort or had a ‘contact us’ page and told them what I was doing and why I was doing it. I went so far as to ask famous people who would probably never do it in 100 years because they are so bombarded with messages, but the majority of people who replied said yes right away.”
“It was almost kind of like the perfect storm because everybody’s at home – nobody’s taping, nobody’s playing, nobody’s recording – so it was almost perfect for what I was trying to do.”
In the end, 33 celebs took part in VCI’s ceremony, including current NHLer Mark Jankowski; former NHL players Wendel Clark, Theo Fleury, Chad Kilger, George Laraque, Guy Larose, Rick Middleton, Bernie Parent, John Scott, and Sheldon Souray; actor/comedians Gerry Dee, Colin Mochrie, and Greg Proops; Olympic hockey gold medalists Cassie Campbell-Pascal, Jayna Hefford, and Marie-Philip Poulin; and plenty more.
McCauley presented the award for Junior Girls Volleyball
“I’m proud and honored to be a part of your athletic awards ceremony this year… Don’t worry. I’ll make sure my mic’s working,” McCauley quipped before handing out the hardware for the team’s Most Deserving Player and MVP.
Barton handled the Junior Boys Volleyball awards, showing off the trophy he received – from more than a few years back – as top athlete when he attended VCI.
Check out the complete awards ceremony below. If you’re the kind who wants to skip ahead, McCauley’s at 31:16 while Barton comes in around 33:14.
Congrats to all the VCI student-athletes!