Sports

Celebrities, former T-Birds stars return; 7-game Hockey Challenge comes to the ShoWare Center on Saturday

Former Thunderbird players sign autographs for fans, young and old, during last year
Former Thunderbird players sign autographs for fans, young and old, during last year's Hockey Challenge at the ShoWare Center.
— image credit: Rachel Ciampi/Reporter

For the Reporter

The Seattle Thunderbirds and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Western Washington & Alaska (RMHC) present a seven-game Hockey Challenge on Saturday at the ShoWare Center.

The T-Birds play the Kamloops Blazers at 6:05 p.m., followed by the local Celebrity and T-Birds Alumni All-Star Game.

A 30-minute autograph session with celebrities and T-Birds past and present begins at 5 p.m.

The All-Star game features Team Furness vs. Team Shea.

Sports host Ian Furness of KJR 950 AM and BJ Shea of the "BJ Shea Experience" on 99.9 FM KISW are the coaches.

Former Thunderbirds, top donors and other local celebrities will be divided evenly between the teams.

New players to the All-Star game are Michael Mantenuto and Mike Butters.

Mantenuto played Jack O'Callahan in the popular movie "Miracle", starring Kurt Russell. "Miracle", released in 2004, detailed the Herb Brooks coached 1980 gold medal winning United States hockey team.

Mantenuto is a sergeant in the U.S. Army with the 1st Special Forces Group stationed at Fort Lewis. He joined the U.S. Army in 2010 and finished the Special Forces qualification course at Fort Bragg in North Carolina this past July.

Butters is a character actor who has appeared in more than 50 movies, including the "Saw" franchise and "D2: The Mighty Ducks", 100 commercials and 20 television shows.

Butters, who lives in Seattle, played professional hockey for six years from 1989-90 to 1995-96 with the Greensboro Monarchs of the ECHL, Fort Wayne Komets of the IHL, Adirondack Red Wings of the AHL, Halifax Citadels of the ALH, New Haven Nighthawks of the AHL, Fresno Falcons of the SuHL and the Bakersfield Fog of the WCHL.

Butters was the general manager of the Norfolk Admirals in the AHL for the 2008-09 season. He was a pro scout for the Tampa Bay Lightning for three years from 2008 to 2011.

Notes

Steve The Producer from the "BJ Shea Experience" will be in goal for Team Furness. Topshelf from the "BJ Shea Experience" will be an assistant coach for Team Shea. ... Bill Wixey from KCPQ 13 TV and John Langeler from KING 5 TV will be slotted on either Team Furness or Team Shea. ... Nine former T-Birds, including Mark Parrish, Brendan Witt, Chris Wells, Jesse Wilson, Jamie Huscroft, Blake Knox, Brett Duncan, Regan Mueller and Danny Lorenz will be divided up among Team Furness and Team Shea. ...

The Hockey Challenge began in 1998, when hockey-playing Microsoft employees, with the help of the Thunderbirds, took an in-house rivalry public and decided to raise money for the RMHC. Since its inception, the Challenge has raised more than $4.3 million for RMHC, which provides a "home-away-from-home" for children and their families during medical treatment, making each day a little easier. ...

A ticket to Hockey Challenge gives fans access to all events, including the T-Birds game against the Blazers.

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Hockey Challenge 2014 schedule

Saturday, Feb. 22

Game 1 – Manny's Mayhems vs. Lucille's Lightning, 8:55 a.m. (Georgetown Brewery-sponsored Microsoft Women's teams).

Game 2 – Concur vs. Xbox Live, 10:35 a.m.

Game 3 – Interactive Entertainment Business (IEB) – Canada vs. IEB - USA, 12:15 p.m.

Game 4 – Exchange vs. Windows, 1:55 p.m.

Game 5 – DevDiv vs. MSIT, 3:35 p.m.

Game 6 – Seattle Thunderbirds vs. Kamloops Blazers, 6:05 p.m.

Game 7 – Local Celebrity and T-Birds Alumni All-Star Game, immediately following T-Birds/Blazers game.

To purchase single game tickets to the Hockey Challenge fans should go to the ShoWare Center box office or go online to the T-Birds website.

Group tickets for the Challenge also can be purchased by calling the T-Birds office at 253-239-7825.

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