Gord Sherven and Mike O’Neil met like a lot of parents do – at the rink
watching their kids.
Since then, Sherven, a former NHLer and Hockey Canada alumnus, and O’Neil,
a senior advisor with KPMG in Calgary, have been collaborating on ways to
give back to the game.
“We met at the rink when our boys played together,” said Sherven, who
serves as chair of the Team Canada Alumni Association (TCAA). “Since then,
we partnered together on some major events.”
Nine years ago, Sherven and the TCAA launched the Team Canada Alumni
Association Charity Golf Tournament and he invited O’Neil to take part.
“Gord asked if KPMG would like to be involved as a sponsor and we thought
it was a good idea,” said O’Neil.
It was during that first golf event that the TCAA held an auction for a
fantasy hockey game.
“It was a silent bid process and it turned out that I got the winning bid,”
At the time, O’Neil didn’t think of his KPMG colleagues, but rather put a
call out to friends to see if he could put together a team. He told a
couple of colleagues about the fantasy game and they got excited.
“That was the turning point, so to speak,” said O’Neil. “KPMG bought the
bid from me and I quarterbacked the event where we invited 15-20 of our
clients to come and play.”
Since the first fantasy game in the winter of 2010, KPMG has been back
year-after-year with clients enjoying a once-in-a-lifetime experience with
Hockey Canada alumni. All the money raised in the golf tournament and the
fantasy hockey game goes back to the Hockey Canada Foundation, which
supports grassroots hockey across Canada.
“It has turned into a fantastic relationship where we raise money for the
Foundation and grassroots hockey,” said Sherven. “They are having a
top-shelf experience and get the star treatment of what it’s like to play
for Hockey Canada.”
Those that participate in the hockey game get the full spread – the Hockey
Canada dressing room, Hockey Canada jerseys with their names on the back, a
trainer and a pre-game ‘pump-up’ video – and a chance to face off against
players the likes of Lanny McDonald, Sheldon Kennedy and Robyn Regehr.
“After the game, we all enjoy some stories, some snacks and usually a
couple of players do a hot-stove type of thing or talk about their
experience playing internationally for Hockey Canada,” said O’Neil. “It is
very exciting to get to play alongside a few Hall of Famers or people they
have only ever read about. For some of our clients, this really is a dream
With such a successful fantasy event in Calgary, Sherven and O’Neil began
to work on other opportunities, including bringing the event to Toronto
with Toronto-based KPMG clients and alumni.
“Through our Toronto office, we have the same set up as we do in Calgary
and it has been a successful and fun event for our clients there,” said
As exciting as it is to play against some of hockey’s greatest male and
female players, at the heart of it for both KPMG and the TCAA is giving
back to the communities and kids across Canada.
“It is so important to give back,” said Sherven. “Hockey Canada gave us a
great opportunity to play for our country. We both believe in giving back
to the game and raising money for the Foundation.”
The future of the fantasy game is strong and both parties are hoping to
expand to other major cities where KPMG has offices.
“KPMG is proud to be a sponsor of the golf tournament and fantasy game,”
said O’Neil. “The money is going back to a good cause, which strengthens
the community, and it helps kids across Canada.”