There were a lot of things to like -- a lot of things Todd Davison would have liked -- at Thursday night's Super Star Summer Showdown at the MTS Centre.
Things like the dazzling shootout moves by the Nashville Predators' Colin Wilson. Things like a 99 mile-per-hour slapshot from New Jersey Devils' Travis Zajac. Things like another fastest-skater title for Darren Helm of the Detroit Red Wings.
More than 4,000 fans gathered Thursday night to watch a collection of NHL stars and talented locally connected pros display their skills and to help raise money for the Believe in the Goal Foundation, the concept of Manitoba hockey player Todd Davison, who lost his battle with cancer in late 2006.
The figures aren't in yet for 2010, but in its fifth year, more than $250,000 has been raised to date to implement the Foundation's mission -- to make a tangible difference in the lives of youngsters battling through various stages of cancer.
This week's fund-raising events included Thursday night's hockey showdown and Wednesday's golf tournament at Bel Acres.
"He started something great," Davison's friend Dustin Boyd of the Montreal Canadiens said Thursday night after scoring three goals in the exhibition Red-White game.
"He'd definitely be proud of what's gone on here. This was his dream and it's come true.
"I played with Todd, no matter what they asked me to do I'd more than do."
Thursday for Boyd, that was making Blizzards at a local Dairy Queen at a joint fund-raising effort, in addition to scoring goals at the MTS Centre.
Boyd joins the Montreal Canadiens on the ice next month, a change that's a fresh start, he said.
"My third team in the last year and it'll be a good opportunity," the 24-year-old Winnipeg native said. "I have to make the most of it because they've given me a shot. I need to have a great year."
Boyd's opponent on the ice Thursday night, Helm, is off to a great start for 2010-11. The St. Andrew's native, 23, has agreed to a new contract with the Red Wings, two years at US$1.825 million.
"I'm not one of those guys to worry," Helm said of the recent announcement. "I was told the deal was going to get done so I sat back and let my agents and Detroit do what they had to do.
"I think my parents were more worried about it. I wasn't losing any sleep. Now, the second part, is the responsibility for me to prove I deserved that kind of contract."
It's a little too early for the serious stuff, though, and Helm said Thursday's entertainment-oriented contest was perfect summer action.
"I love having this kind of fun," he said after scoring one of his Team White's goals in the 10-7 win. "Of course, when you're in the swing of things, you're doing a lot of things different, like backchecking. Didn't see too much of that out there.
"Here, you just want to see some nice plays, some nice goals and you want the fans to have that fun, seeing the nice plays."
The game also featured former Moose Mason Raymond of the Vancouver Canucks lighting up his friend Cory Schneider for three goals. It was likely a swan song for Schneider, the former Moose goalie, at the MTS Centre.
Chicago Blackhawks captain Jonathan Toews, who sat out the action while he's receiving treatment for a nagging knee injury, went behind the bench instead, coaching the losing Red Team.
The Olympic gold medalist, Stanley Cup and Conn Smythe Trophy winner addressed the crowd before puck drop, endorsing his friend Davison's foundation for future events.
"This is five years going now and it just keeps getting better," Toews said.