Canadians, Tretyak Join Forces at Charity Auction

CerbaVladislav Tretyak, second from left, with a giant check at the end of the auction. The money will go to help the elderly and orphans, among others.
Canadian and Russian businesspeople came out in force in the name of charity as the Canada Eurasia Russia Business Association, or CERBA, held its annual charity auction.

The organization, in conjunction with the Vladislav Tretyak Foundation, rented out the grand surroundings of Moscow's historic Yar restaurant on Leningradsky Prospekt on Feb. 5 for a silent auction that raised more than $100,000.

The popular cocktail dinner is one of the most important events in CERBA's calendar, raising vital funds for children's, social and family institutions in Saratov and the Russian regions.

More than 200 corporations and individuals from Moscow, Toronto, Montreal and Calgary make up CERBA's extensive network of business links between Canada and Russia.

Those attending the dinner were spurred in their generosity by the presence of State Duma Deputy and ice hockey legend Vladislav Tretyak, a triple Olympic champion who famously stunned the Canadians with his play for the Soviet side in the summit series in 1972.

Canadian Ambassador to Russia Ralph Lysyshyn welcomed guests and donated a dinner at the Canadian Embassy to be held on a mutually agreed date.

Among the many items up for grabs throughout the evening was an exquisite diamond ring in shape of an ice rink with the insignia of the Russian Federation in the center, which fetched upward of $9,000.

The ring commemorates Russia's victory in last year's World Hockey Championships.

Jerseys autographed by that winning team, a shirt signed by Canadian hockey star Gordie Howe, luxurious hotel stays and plus dinner with Tretyak were also on offer on the night.

A framed original painting by artist Sergei Prieskin titled "Fall Images" proved another very appealing item for punters to bid upon.

President of CERBA's Moscow branch and master of ceremonies Nathan Hunt provided a lively commentary on the wide array of items up for auction. But much to his displeasure the raffle was not rigged, and he went away empty-handed.

The star of the night was undoubtedly Tretyak, who said the money raised would go to good use.

"The Tretyak Foundation spends its donations on such good causes as performing life-saving operations and forming cohesive communities.

"Elderly institutions, orphanages, children's hospitals and social shelters have all reaped the much-needed benefits of CERBA fundraising initiatives in the past," he said.

"Tretyak is without a doubt an icon of the Soviet and post-Soviet hockey era," said Gregory Shield, the CEO of Stroyfasa Constructions paying tribute to him for helping with the auction. "Not only being a dedicated athlete, family man and one of the founders of the new KHL [Continental Hockey League], he also donates an enormous amount of time to attract fans and business people alike in taking part each year at the CERBA auction.

"Without his support in coordination with the Canadian Embassy and CERBA, the auction would not have had the positive results once again achieved."

At the end of the night, a huge check for $113,700 was presented, although that wasn't the final sum, as more money came in later.