Brandon, MB. – One of the most productive offensive performers in National Hockey League history will headline the list of speakers for the 2013 Wheat Kings' CKLQ Sportsman's Dinner, to be held on Thursday, February 7th in the Keystone Centre's UCT Pavillion.
A naturally gifted goal scorer and playmaker, center Marcel Dionne was a junior superstar with the St. Catherines Black Hawks of the OHA. In three seasons, he scored 375 points and helped the Hawks reach the Memorial Cup finals in 1971.
The second player chosen in the 1971 NHL Amateur Draft – behind only Guy Lafleur of the Montreal Canadiens – Dionne became an instant hit in Detroit. Besides scoring 77 points to lead the Wings in scoring as a rookie in '71-72, he earned an invitation to Team Canada for the 1972 Summit Series against the USSR.
After four productive years in Detroit, a contract dispute in 1975 with management led to a trade between the Red Wings and Los Angeles Kings. It was on the west coast, during the prime of his career, that Dionne established himself as one of the league's premier players. During his twelve years with the Kings, he topped the 100-point mark seven times, was a two-time winner of the Lady Byng Trophy and the Lester B. Pearson Award and was selected to the NHL First and Second All Star Teams twice each. In 1980, he was declared winner of the Art Ross Trophy after he tied rookie Wayne Gretzky with 137 points to share the league scoring title.
During the early eighties, Dionne established a number of personal milestones, including his 500th goal and 1,000th NHL point.
A member of the New York Rangers in 1987-88, the Drummondville, Quebec product retired after 37 games in '88-89 with 731 goals and 1,771 points. At the time of his retirement, those totals placed him third on the NHL all time scoring list behind only Gretzky and Gordie Howe.
The popular Dionne was elected to the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1992.
Needless to say, the Wheat Kings and CKLQ general manager Cam Clark couldn't be happier with this year's lineup.
"We are very excited about this year's CKLQ Sportsman's Dinner" says Clark. "With such a strong and dominant former NHL star such as Marcel Dionne to be on hand, along with a quality comedian, and knowledgeable MC in Dennis Beyak, it promises to be a great evening. Everyone at CKLQ is looking forward to this great event to support Wheat king players in their academic endeavors following their time with the team."
Joining Dionne at the 2013 event, which is held annually to raise money for the Wheat Kings' Scholarship Foundation, will be comedian Tim Nutt as well as the play-by-play voice of the NHL's Winnipeg Jets – Dennis Beyak.
A native of Winnipegosis, Beyak joined TSN in the summer of 2011 and provides the play by play for the Jets' regional games on the newly created digital channel, TSN Jets, and on TSN 1290 Radio in Winnipeg.
Beyak began his broadcasting career doing play by play for the Flin Flon Bombers of the WCHL, before joining the likes of the Western Hockey League's Saskatoon Blades, Victoria Cougars and Seattle Thunderbirds before moving on to the National Hockey League's Toronto Maple Leafs.
In addition to radio, Dennis has called the IIHF World Hockey Championships on TSN and has worked as a hockey analyst on The Score.
No stranger to the WHL, Beyak's 41-year career in sports has also included stints outside of the broadcast booth, serving as the assistant general manager of the WHL Blades from 1981-90, GM of the T-Birds from 1992-94 and Tri-City Americans in 1994-95. He also served as chairman of the Memorial Cup in Saskatoon (1989) and Seattle (1992) and was named the league's Executive of the Year in 1989.
Direct from Vancouver, Nutt pushes comedy to explosive new levels and dimensions. He expertly explores the hilarity in everday life. Tim is rough and tumble and manic and combines one-liners and crafty storytelling with a smooth familiarity.
A favorite on stages from coast to coast, this 12-year comedy veteran has brought his unique style to radio and television and he is quite proud of his "Comedy Now" special for CTV and The Comedy Network. As well, he is a regular at both the Winnipeg Comedy Festival and the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal.
Tickets to this year's event are $100 each and can be ordered by calling the Wheat Kings at 726-3535.
In addition to a great evening of stories and laughs, a number of items will be up for grabs in both the Live and Silent Auctions including autographed jerseys from former Wheat Kings Jordin Tootoo of the Detroit Red Wings, Philadephia Flyers' center Brayden Schenn and right-winger Mark Stone, who is currently skating with the Ottawa Senators' American League affiliate in Binghampton, New York.
Former speakers at the Sportsman's Dinner have included the likes of Lanny McDonald, Dennis Hull, Brad Park, Phil Esposito, Mike Bossy, Ray Ferraro, Wendel Clark, John Ferguson, Terry O'Reilly, Ron McLean and Don Cherry. Among the many comedians to take the stage at the Keystone Centre include Big Daddy Tazz, Derek Edwards, Mike MacDonald, Gord Paynter, Bruce Clark, Ron James and Corner Gas star Brent Butt.