Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Johnston

NHL coach, country musician to headline Nite of Champions event

Pittsburgh Penguins head coach Mike Johnston and musician Chad Brownlee to attend Nov. 3 KidSport event.

Another impressive guest list has been lined up for next week’s annual Nite of Champions gala, the annual KidSport fundraiser now in its fourth year.

At this year’s event, which is set for Tuesday, Nov. 3 at Hazelmere Golf Club, the keynote speaker will be a face familiar to many involved in local hockey circles – Pittsburgh Penguins’ head coach Mike Johnston.

Johnston has lived on the Semiahmoo Peninsula since his time as a Vancouver Canucks’ assistant coach, and has been involved with a number of minor-hockey and Hockey Canada initiatives locally through the years.

He is in his second year coaching the Penguins, who are in town next week to face the Canucks.

KidSport – which has chapters across the country, including Surrey-White Rock – raises money to help cover sports registration costs for young athletes who could not otherwise afford to play.

Last year’s event raised more than $100,000, and nearly $300,000 has been raised since the inaugural gala in 2012.

More than 1,000 athletes in Surrey and White Rock have been helped so far.

Also returning to this year’s event is last year’s guest of honour, country musician Chad Brownlee.

The Lower Mainland native was a junior hockey player as a teenager – suiting up for  the BC Hockey League’s Vernon Vipers – and earned an NCAA hockey scholarship. He was drafted by the Canucks in 2003, but after a brief professional career, turned his attention to music.

This year’s event will again be hosted by Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster, and South Surrey resident, Jim Hughson.

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