Thursday was Dominic Moore’s 6th annual Smashfest hosted by the NHLPA, a charity ping-pong tournament in support of the Katie Moore Foundation and Steve Moore Foundation. The charities support rare cancer research and concussion research respectively. Dominic had the idea for the event while playing a game of ping-pong against Marty St. Louis in the New York Rangers locker room. Since the idea and inaugural Smashfest event, Moore has helped raise over $500,000 for charity.

Smashfest VI players gather for a group photo
Smashfest VI players gather for a group photo before the games begin

The atmosphere for the event was absolutely incredible from the moment I walked in. Was the buzz around the players making their entrance soon? or was it because of the open bar? Either way, everyone was having a great time from the very beginning and that carried on throughout the night. As the players made their way into the Smashfest VI tournament area they signed the ping-pong table at center court to be later auctioned off for the charities. Attendees erupted at just the sight of guys like Alex Burrows, Dominic Moore, Taylor Hall, and now 3-time Smashfest Player’s Champion Patrick Eaves. After making their entrance, the players were split into pairs for the Pro-Am, some with other players and others with fans. The teams were as follows:


  • Latta/S. Moore
  • Hall/Adams
  • Burrows/Roussel
  • Eaves
  • Hyman
  • Skinner
  • Athanasiou/Johnson
  • Tierney/Shore
  • Carrick
  • Spooner
  • Anderson/Harrington
  • Tkachuk/Bennett
  • Brown/D. Moore
  • Henrique/Blandisi
  • Jenner
  • Cramarossa/Montour
Team Athanasiou Vs. Team Burrows/Roussel in the Pro-Am at Smashfest VI
Team Athanasiou/Johnson Vs. Team Burrows/Roussel in the Pro-Am

The players/teams then drew guests names out of a hat to decide who they’d be playing with. The way the Pro-Am tournament worked was each team had 2 fans play with the pros in a best of 3 series to move onto the next round. One fan would play with one player and after each game, the player/fan combo who sat the game out would come in. It didn’t matter about skill level or even winning, everyone was having a good time and soaking up the opportunity to speak and play with some of their hockey heroes. In the finals, it was Team Skinner vs. Team Burrows. Burrows had already been a 2x Pro-Am Champ and Skinner was seen as the underdog. However, Skinner pulled off the upset taking the final 5-game series in 3 games for the sweep.


Dominic Moore of the Toronto Maple Leafs (right) makes the first serve of the Players Tournament against Josh Anderson of the Columbus Blue Jackets (left) at Smashfest 6
Dominic Moore of the Toronto Maple Leafs (right) makes the first serve of the Players Tournament against Josh Anderson of the Columbus Blue Jackets (left)

Next up was the Player’s tournament. All games were showcased on center court and featured D. Moore vs. Anderson, Burrows vs. Roussel, Skinner vs. Spooner, and Eaves vs. Latta. These matchups were all best of 5 series now and the stakes were high. Host Dominic Moore made quick work of Josh Anderson to advance to the semis where he’d later fall to the eventual Champion, Patrick Eaves. Burrows was incredibly focused and was able to beat Roussel in a very close series in the battle of the Frenchmen. Spooner fell to Jeff Skinner, setting up Skinner to take on Burrows in the Semis. Burrows and Eaves eventually made it to the finals in a rematch of last year’s final. Eaves went on to beat Alex and completed the impressive Three-peat that can only be rivaled by Jordan’s Three-peat.


From left to right: Derick Brassard, Alex Burrows, and Ryan Dzingel pose for a photo with a fan at Smashfest six 2017
From left to right: Derick Brassard, Alex Burrows, and Ryan Dzingel pose for a photo with a fan

Throughout the event, the players were available to speak with fans and media, but as soon as one person stopped talking to a player, another swooped in. I tried to ask the players as much as possible before they got called on for a match, and have compiled some of the best answers I got and heard over the course of the night. If anyone can get in contact with Brandon Montour, I’m still waiting for his response to the “Growing up, what was your go to shinny jersey?” question!


PATRICK EAVES

Patrick Eaves poses for a photo with the Smashfest Player's Champion Trophy as a 3 time champion at smashfest 2017
Patrick Eaves poses for a photo with the Smashfest Player’s Champion Trophy

Q: If you could have a jersey that is no longer in use make a comeback, which would it be?


A: “There’s some good ones … I like the old Washington Capitals one with the stars across the chest. I thought those were pretty cool. Even the old Anaheim, the originals, the Mighty Ducks … that’s kind of a big movie in our household right now so I wouldn’t mind seeing those either”


Q: Why did you choose your jersey number?


A: “Actually it worked out really good … before the Dallas Stars moved to Dallas they were in Minnesota and my Dad wore 18 for Minnesota. So when that opportunity came up in Dallas it kind of worked out and just transferred over.”

MATTHEW TKACHUK

Matthew Tkachuk (left) of the Calgary Flames answers media questions next to Alex Burrows of the Ottawa Senators (right) at Smashfest VI in Toronto
Matthew Tkachuk (left) answers media questions next to Alex Burrows (right)

Q: What’s your plan for tonight? Will there be any trash talking?


A: “Like hockey you don’t really think about it, you just try to play and beat the other guy, but tonight I don’t think it’s really too much about winning, it’s all for a good cause so I think it’s just about having fun.”


Q: But if you had to be in the ear of someone tonight, maybe a teammate, who would that be?


A: “Probably Sam Bennett, he’s the easy choice.”

(Watching Team Patrick Eaves take on Tkachuk’s teammate Sam Bennett)


Q: Who you got winning this one?


A: (Pointing to Eaves and laughing) “That guy … he just looks like a ping-pong player.”

ANTOINE ROUSSEL

Anotine Roussel of the Dallas Stars (left) answers media questions next to Alex Burrows of the Ottawa Senators (right) at smashfest vi in toronto at steam whistle brewery
Antoine Roussel (left) is all smiles as he answers media questions next to Alex Burrows (right)

Q: What are you looking forward to tonight?


A: “It’s just so much fun, you hang out with some fans, you talk hockey, you see a couple guys that usually hate me, but tonight’s ok and it’s the summer and they’ve eased-up and it’s fun, and the most fun part is for the cause.”


Q: Have you been training with Burr?


A: “I’ve been practicing with him a little bit, trying to be a partner and he’s doing a good job, he’s ready”


Q: How many times a week? 


A: (Laughing)”I don’t discuss our strategy, I don’t make it public”

ALEX BURROWS:

Alex Burrows rallies with Antoine Roussel at smashfest six in toronto
Alex Burrows rallies with Antoine Roussel

Q: If you could trade jerseys with any player at the end of the game, past or present, who would you trade with?


A: “That’s a tough question. I actually collect jerseys myself and have a jersey collection at home. Mostly the big name guys like Stamkos, McDavid … It’s so hard to choose because there are so many great players, but if I had to choose one to trade with I think it would be Mario. He was such a great player.”

CHRIS TIERNEY:

Chris Tierney and his partner compete in the Pro-Am at smashfest six
Chris Tierney (left) and his partner compete in the Pro-Am

Q: If you could have a jersey that is no longer in use make a comeback, which would it be?


A: “Hmmm … definitely the baby blue Thrashers jerseys. (Devin Shore gives thumbs down and says “That’s a terrible choice, those were awful!”) Chris defended himself by laughing and saying “I had one growing up as a kid, I love those jerseys!”

DEVIN SHORE

From left to right: Devin Shore, Brandon Montour, Patrick Eaves, Dominic Moore, Connor Carrick, Joe Cramarossa pose for a group photo at smashfest vi
From left to right: Devin Shore, Brandon Montour, Patrick Eaves, Dominic Moore, Connor Carrick, Joe Cramarossa

Q: If you could have a jersey that is no longer in use make a comeback, which would it be?


A: “Oh that’s a great question for me, I’m actually a jersey guy myself. I’m going to need to think about this one. (After a few minutes of deliberating and beard scratching) I think I’d have to go with the purple Mighty Ducks ones. Those are a classic!”

Ryan Spooner returns a serve in the Player's tournament at Smashfest VI
Ryan Spooner returns a serve in the Smashfest VI Player’s tournament

It was definitely entertaining to hear the player’s responses to the questions. There were definitely a few I wasn’t expecting (I’m pointing at you Chris), but overall it was a fun night and the players were very friendly. Shore and Tierney are probably two of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, even if it was as brief as it was. As tough as some of these guys are on the ice, they’re incredible people off it.

Smashfest VI was definitely something I’ll remember. It’s always great to see players not only give back to the fans that support them but to the charities as well. With their support, Smashfest has grown and continues to grow and donate to some very important causes.

To donate to the Steve Moore Foundation or the Katie Moore Foundation click HERE and help support some incredible charities!