Canada’s World Junior team trades in slapshots for brush strokes for a good cause

CALGARY — We know what Canada’s World Junior team can do on the ice, but the players hope their skills off the ice will turn into big wins for Alberta charities.

While the team was quarantined in Red Deer in November, they all traded in sticks for paint brushes for a Bob Ross-inspired paint night. And now all of the pieces are up for auction online, with the proceeds going to several charities in Red Deer.

“We did like a little winter one, we had like mountains, trees, a lake. And mine was just brutal,” Team Canada forward Phil Tomasino told TSN.

“Mine didn’t turn out,” Tomasino says with a laugh. “We did a vote and mine was probably the worst.”

The paintings were all done in good fun and the players, of course, are better at hockey than art. But art critics say the pieces aren’t all that bad.

“They’re really quite warm. You can tell that they had fun,” says Daniel Gallay, a consignment specialist with Heffel Fine Art Auction House in Toronto.

Hockey art auction

(Team Canada goalie Taylor Gauthier, who is from Calgary, painted this Bob Ross-inspired piece while in quarantine.)

“A few people played with the template, painted a Christmas tree or painted on the back,” he says, “but they’re fun. That’s actually as hard a part of painting as any part.”

The online auction continues until after Canada’s New Year’s Eve matchup with Finland and the pieces currently range in price from $20 to $200.

One Calgary artist agrees the players show some promise on the canvas.

Sheila Kernan

(Calgary artist Sheila Kernan says some Team Canada’s paintings show some promise)

“You can see the Bob Ross influence for sure,” says artist Sheila Kernan.

Among those that stood out to Kernan was a piece by Calgary’s Taylor Gauthier.

“Taylor had some really cool dry brushing techniques in the front where that blue just hops right off the page,” she says.

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