NHL alumni hit the ice for central Illinois tornado relief

By Celsy Martindale

January 15, 2014 Updated Jan 16, 2014 at 12:19 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- It's not everyday that former NHL players hit the ice in Peoria, but on Wednesday night they strapped on skates in honor of area tornado victims.

The Salvation Army teamed up with former players of the Chicago Blackhawks and St. Louis Blues for a special game called Skate Strong.

Thousands of tornado victims and their supporters came out to watch.

"It's a great way for people who were not involved in it to give something back to the folks that we live so close to," said Mike Watson, Bloomington Resident.

"Just came in to watch the game and hopefully benefit the disaster victims," said Mike Blount, Normal Resident.

"Central Illinois heart are still with them and we know it's going to be a long time for the recovery," said Gary Watson, Morton Resident.

Money raised at Wednesday's Skate Strong event will aid tornado relief efforts across central Illinois.