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Gaels help make Taylor Hall tournament a success

Hockey stars from the NHL, OHL and OUA faced off on July 29 in downtown Kingston for the 4th annual Taylor Hall Charity Ball Hockey Tournament in support of the Boys and Girls Club of Kingston.

Among those taking up their sticks alongside the New Jersey Devils star winger were Queen’s Gaels standouts Kevin Bailie (Law’19, Artsci’17) and Spencer Abraham (Law’20).

"Taylor Hall Ball Hockey Tournament"
Tournament co-founders Taylor Hall of the New Jersey Devils, second from left, and Kevin Bailie (Law’19) of the Queen''s Gaels men's hockey team, third from left, take a break from the action with Nicholas Osanic, Aaron Fransen (Law’04), and Phil Osanic (Law’91, LLM’02), at the charity ball hockey event in downtown Kingston on July 29. (Photo by Jackie Li)

The event is the brainchild of Bailie, a goalie for the Gaels, and his childhood and former OHL rival Hall. 

“One night when I was in first-year undergrad, Taylor and I had a debate about who could build a better ball hockey team of former teammates,” says Bailie. “We did just that. Eventually some businesses found out and wanted to sponsor the event. It started gaining a lot of publicity and became what is my favourite day of the summer each year. We figured with that much exposure and potential we might as well use it to support a good cause, and that is why all proceeds go to the Boys and Girls Club of Kingston.”

Abraham, another former OHL competitor of Bailie’s and now his Gaels teammate, participated in the tournament for the third consecutive year and also pitched in to help Bailie with game-day organization.

A defenceman who has now attended two camps with the NHL’s Florida Panthers, Abraham can empathize with the children.

“Through my hockey experiences I noticed how much kids looked up to me as a player and the power I possessed in making a difference in their lives,” he says. “Hockey and the life skills I have learned playing the game have molded me into the person I am today and I attend the event to give back to the community and raise money so these kids have the opportunity to live the same dream and acquire the same life skills.” 

Also joining the play were Aaron Fransen, (Law’04, Artsci’01), and Phil Osanic (Law’91, LLM’02). 

Fransen, a Kingston Frontenacs and Queen’s Gaels alumnus, is one of Bailie's key role models.

“We have similar backgrounds and as a mentor Aaron has been so helpful to me,” he says.

Now a partner with Stikeman Elliott in Toronto, Fransen played on a team of lawyers. Also on that team was Osanic, a Kingston lawyer and faculty member with Smith School of Business and the Faculty of Law. 

Other NHL players participating in the event included Calvin de Haan (New York Islanders), Ben Hutton (Vancouver Canucks) and Lawson Crouse (Arizona Coyotes). 

This year’s event raised nearly $20,000

“The highlight for me was just seeing the smiles on the kids’ faces,” says Abraham. “To pass on that inspiration and love for the game to others who have the same goals and aspirations I once had is the ultimate prize for me.”

Bailie echoes that sentiment.

“I loved the game between Kingston minor players and a celebrity squad,” he says, reflecting on his favourite sports memory from when he was nine – skating on the Bay of Quinte with the Vancouver Canucks when Belleville native and then-coach Marc Crawford brought them to town between a Toronto-Ottawa series. 

“To think we may have just created such a life-long memory for 20 young kids feels amazing,” he says. “That’s why I do it and I hope I’m always in a position to do those sorts of things for deserving people.”