By Adam Brazeau
CORNWALL, Ontario - Thousands honoured a man revered for his vital role in carving out a sports scene for girls minor hockey and baseball/softball leagues in the city this Saturday.
Brian 'Russ' Tardiff was floored to see the amount of support flooding in at a fundraiser organized to help him and his family in his personal journey with ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease).
Brian's Day, hosted by Tardiff's family, close friends, and the Cornwall Girls Hockey Association (CGHA) mixed hockey games, live music, and a silent auction to raise an expected $15,000.
"It's absolutely overwhelming the support - the way the hockey and softball community came together for someone like me who is living with ALS," said Tardiff.
It was announced that he is one of 12 new inductees that are part of the Cornwall Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2014.
Angie Baker, event co-organizer, said that when the CGHA decided their second major annual fundraising event was in support of Tardiff - family and friends quickly decided to join the team.
"This is a very special day for a very special man who has been a big part of the sports world in Cornwall," said Baker.
She was moved, but not surprised by the massive turnout and support from sponsors and hockey legends like Doug Gilmour and Walter Gretzky who donated signed sports memorabilia.
Before two-time Olympic gold medalist and Cornwall native Lori Dupuis signed autographs at Brian's Day, she spoke to Seaway News about the importance of the event. Tardiff is her cousin.
"It's amazing that everybody comes together in a community like this to help out," said Dupuis. "I'm so happy to be a part it."