Peninsula Olympian Lynn Kanuka laughs as MC Jim Hughson hoists her running cleats during the KidSport Nite of Champions gala Wednesday. Below

Peninsula Olympian Lynn Kanuka laughs as MC Jim Hughson hoists her running cleats during the KidSport Nite of Champions gala Wednesday. Below

South Surrey gala raises $90,000 for KidSport

Funds raised at Nite of Champions gala in South Surrey helps young athletes play sports

There was an Olympic feeling in the air at Hazelmere Golf and Country Club Wednesday night, as the Surrey-White Rock chapter of KidSport held its annual Nite of Champions gala.

The event featured a slew of faces recognizable to Semiahmoo Peninsula sports fans, from Olympian and Elgin Park Secondary alum Luc Bruchet – who competed in the men’s 5,000-m race at the 2016 Games in Rio – to former Vancouver Canucks goaltender Kirk McLean and current BC Lions kicker, and Surrey resident, Paul McCallum.

Olympic race walker Evan Dunfee, a Richmond native, also spoke at the event, regaling the audience with stories from his time at the 2016 Summer Olympics.

Dunfee gained notoriety during the Olympics in August for his performance in the men’s 50-km race walk. In line for a bronze medal, he ended up fourth after being physically bumped by Japanese competitor Hirooki Arai during the race’s stretch drive. Upon appeal, he was upgraded to bronze-medal position, but then a counter-appeal from Japan was also successful, knocking him back into fourth place.

As has been the case since the inaugural Nite of Champions event in 2012, the evening was MC’d by Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster Jim Hughson, who is also a South Surrey resident.

Through ticket sales, an auction, as well as donations, Wednesday’s event raised just shy of $90,000 – which, chapter president Ronnie Paterson pointed out, goes a long way to fulfilling the non-profit organization’s annual goal of raising $125,000.

Funds raised by KidSport help cover sports registration costs for young athletes who could not otherwise afford to play.

The Surrey-White Rock chapter helps more than 500 youth each year, Paterson said.

KidSport medals