Montreal Canadiens Alumni thrill fans at charity hockey game



By Ron Giofu


Usually when the home team loses a hockey game 18-7, there aren’t as many smiles in the arena.

Last Saturday night was an exception.

The Montreal Canadiens Alumni came to the Libro Centre and played against the Amherstburg Rotary team, the latter made up of area residents, business owners, town employees and first responders. The charity hockey game was organized by the Rotary Club of Amherstburg and was a fundraiser for Amherstburg Community Services (ACS).

The Amherstburg Rotary hockey team poses for a group photo with the Montreal Canadiens Alumni team following their Dec. 1 game at the Libro Centre. The Rotary Club of Amherstburg presented the game as a fundraiser for Amherstburg Community Services (ACS).

“It was an amazing night,” said Rotary Club president Joan Donaldson. “It was exciting. It was fun. I think everyone had a good time.”

Susanne Bergeron, another Rotarian who helped organize the event, estimated they had at least 20 volunteers helping out Saturday night.

“It was a big success,” added Donaldson. “It exceeded our expectations.”

Close to 700 tickets were sold, she added. The monetary amount being donated to ACS was not known as of press time.

ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo was happy with how things turned out.

“I think it’s very exciting,” she said. “I think it’s great for the town and the Rotary Club. It’s great for the town to support such a great event.”

The proceeds will go into ACS’ programming, she indicated.

“We will continue to expand and develop new programs,” said DiBartolomeo. “We’re very grateful that Rotary chose us as their designated charity.”

Montreal’s Guillaume Latendresse tucks the puck behind Amherstburg Rotary goalie Justin Rousseau.

Chris Nilan, one of the Montreal Canadiens Alumni that played in the game, said it is enjoyable to travel the country and raise money for charities.

“It’s a lot of fun to get together,” said Nilan. “We are all part of the Canadiens family.”

Nilan stated it’s nice to be able to get to smaller communities as a lot of fans may not get a chance to meet pro hockey players unless they travel to an NHL city. He said he had been to Windsor before but this was the first time he had been in the Amherstburg area, though noted he didn’t have a chance to see much of the town. He joked that “it’s another nice hockey rink” and that they saw a lot of farmland travelling from Windsor to Amherstburg.

Yvon Lambert, a Habs’ legend from the 1970’s and coach of the Alumni team, liked what he saw Saturday night.

Police chief Tim Berthiaume drops the puck for the ceremonial faceoff between Councillor Peter Courtney and Habs legend Chris Nilan.

“It’s always well organized. It’s a good cause,” said Lambert.

The Alumni tour gives the retired NHL stars a chance to get together, have a good weekend and have a few laughs all the while helping local charities, he added. Lambert said the Alumni has about 30 players or so on the roster with about 10-11 of them travelling at one time to cities and towns to play. It was his first time to Amherstburg as well, and he stated he was impressed with the Libro Centre and the community as a whole.

For more photos from the Dec. 1 charity hockey game, visit our Facebook photo album.


ACS unveils new accessible vehicle



By Ron Giofu


Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) has received its long-awaited new accessible vehicle and unveiled it last Tuesday afternoon.

The non-profit agency, which has had to go much of the year shorthanded in the vehicle department, debuted its new vehicle at a media event at JFA, located at the corner of Alma St. and Renaud Dr. The new accessible vehicle has room for eight passengers and two wheelchairs and cost nearly $80,000, with approximately $57,000 of that covered by Concours Mold Inc. and the Goggin family.

“We are grateful to Concours Mold, the Goggin family and all of those who donated,” said Kathy DiBartolomeo, executive director with ACS.

DiBartolomeo said 2018 started on a difficult note for ACS as they had to take vehicles off the road due to their age and the condition of the vehicles.

“Now, it’s ending on a high note,” said DiBartolomeo.

The new accessible vehicle, coupled with a recent donation of a van thanks to a group of car dealerships and realtors, has brought the ACS vehicle fleet back to where they want it.

The new accessible vehicle will help seniors and those with mobility issues get to appointments locally or in Windsor with DiBartolomeo noting that arrangements can be made to accommodate a caregiver as well. The vehicle is now in service and members of the public who need it can call 519-736-5471 for information or to book a ride.

“This vehicle will allow us to run with greater efficiency,” said DiBartolomeo.

Amherstburg Community Services unveiled its new accessible vehicle Nov. 27. The vehicle was purchased with help from donations, including a combined $57,000 from the Goggin family and Concours Mold. From left: Concours deputy chief financial officer (CFO) Kenny Goggin, ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo, Concours corporate HR manager Tiffany Huson and Concours marketing specialist Jmar Eduarte.

Kenny Goggin, deputy chief financial officer (CFO) with Concours Mold Inc., said it will be exciting to watch the accessible vehicle drive around Amherstburg and the surrounding area knowing that people are using it and having a better quality of life.

“It will be exciting to see it driving down the road helping people who don’t have use of transportation as freely,” he stated.

Goggin recalled getting a number of messages earlier in the year about the vehicles, noting that one was from a daughter of a Concours employee that dropped out of school after ACS’s student shuttle was temporarily taken off the road.

“When it was announced the bus was coming, she was extremely excited to go back to school,” said Goggin.

Two seniors who use ACS’ transportation services were thrilled with the unveiling of the new vehicle.

“I think this is just wonderful what these people have done for us,” said June Fox. “I’m 92-years-old and I’m proud of it. This organization is just wonderful, and I can always depend on them.”

“I’m just grateful for these people,” added Carolyn Belisle. “I use (ACS’ transportation services) often. I don’t know where I would be without it.”

For further information on ACS, call them or visit their office at 179 Victoria St. S. People can also get information on their transportation service or any of the other services ACS offers, visit

Montreal Canadiens alumni opponents get ready



By Ron Giofu


The Montreal Canadiens Alumni come to the Libro Centre this Saturday night and the team that will be opposing them got ready for them last weekend.

The team comprised of area residents, emergency service workers, incoming council members and town employees were on the ice last Saturday night practising for the game that is coming up this weekend. The team consists of 23 players, including two goalies, and will be coached by Dave Wharram.

Admirals co-owner Matt Fox takes a shot on town treasurer Justin Rousseau during a Saturday night practice at the Libro Centre.

“It’s a fun practice to let the guys get together and learn from each other,” said Wharram. “Everyone I talked to is excited to play against some of their childhood heroes.”

Wharram said he is a die-hard Toronto Maple Leafs fan but the Canadiens are his “next best team” so he is excited to be part of the event as well. The alumni team features players not long out of the NHL and others that have been retired for 20 years or more so it will be an “interesting” game,” Wharram believed.

The charity hockey game is being organized by the Rotary Club of Amherstburg with proceeds going to Amherstburg Community Services (ACS).

Councillor-elect Peter Courtney playfully shoots the puck towards the camera (which was behind the glass) during a Nov. 24 practice at the Libro Centre.

“The Rotary Club did a great job organizing this,” said Wharram. “It’s all for fun and for charity.”

Tickets are available at and will be available at the door, unless the game is a sell-out beforehand. Tickets are $20 each. There is a family pack (four tickets) available for $70 and $75 VIP tickets are also available.

Secret Santa Benefit Dinner raises $12,216



By Christian Bouchard


Mealtime Express is full steam ahead to bring smiles to local children.

The tenth Secret Santa Benefit Dinner was held Sunday at the Sandwich St. S. restaurant. The public responded well as tickets to the event were sold out in two weeks.

The local restaurant partnered with Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) and the Amherstburg Police Service to help local kids for Christmas.

Norm Mickle, who owns the restaurant with his wife Janet, said before the first of the four dinners served, they raised around $7,200. The total, as of Monday morning, was $12,216.

“The beauty of it is that it changes peoples lives,” said Mickle. “We’ve had people that we’ve done this for years ago that have shown up here with a cheque to donate to the Secret Santa program. It’s an amazing circle of life that happens here.”

Mealtime Express raised $12,216 at Sunday evening’s Secret Santa Benefit Dinner. A “Secret Santa” program is being run by the local restaurant in conjunction with Amherstburg Community Services and the Amherstburg Police Service.

With the partnership with ACS, families will then get a phone call asking what their child wants for Christmas. From there, a group of people go out to do the shopping and buy what the kids want for Christmas. Once the gifts are all bought, the Amherstburg Police Service gets involved to make sure the gifts get delivered.

“Now it’s become a community event,” said Mickle. “You would not believe the people and local businesses that have shown up and given us stuff that we can raffle off. All the money goes straight to the kids. We don’t take a dime.”

According to Mickle, in the 10 years of hosting the dinner, there have been over 3,000 gifts bought and over 250 people looked after, all locally. He called the partnership with ACS and APS “the perfect marriage” and said how humbled he is to be able to leave smiles on kids faces.

“It gives us an opportunity to give back to the community that’s taken care of us for so long,” added Mickle. “It’s a win-win-win-win situation for everyone involved.”

Caesars Windsor Cares kicks off Stuff-a-Stocking for Seniors donation drive with $1,500 donation



Special to the RTT


Since 2013, Amherstburg Community Services (ACS) has collected donations every year to ensure seniors at risk of loneliness and isolation receive a gift during the holidays through their Stuff-a-Stocking campaign.

This year, they’re starting their campaign off strong with a donation of $1,500 from Caesars Windsor Cares.  ACS executive director Kathy DiBartolomeo says this is as good a start as they could have hoped for.

“This donation really gets us off on the right foot and we can’t thank Caesars Windsor enough for stepping forward like this,” DiBartolomeo said. “Giving to our local seniors, many of whom won’t see many, if any, other gifts come their way this year, is one of the best ways to truly get into the holiday spirit.  We’re really looking forward to seeing our community step up yet again.”

Local seniors help stuff stockings for seniors. ACS is running its Stuff a Stocking for Seniors campaign again this year. (Submitted photo)

Caesars Windsor isn’t stopping with their donation, as they will also give staff the opportunity to volunteer to help prepare the stockings for delivery.  According to Kelly Wolfe Gregoire, vice President of human resources at Caesars Windsor, the staff and management there are thrilled to be involved in the program.

“We are proud to work with Amherstburg Community Services to help older individuals live longer, healthier and more fulfilling lives at every stage of the aging process,” Wolfe Gregoire said.

Donations are now being collected at ACS, 179 Victoria St. S. in Amherstburg.  They need small gifts that can easily fit into stockings such as small toiletries, candy and treats, warm socks, homemade cards, and other small items.  Monetary donations by cash or cheque can be brought to ACS’ office, while donations made by credit card can be given on their website,

For more information, those interested can learn more by visiting ACS’ website or call their office at 519-736-5471.