01/12/2015 11:03 EST | Updated 03/14/2015 05:59 EDT

Nathan O'Brien Fundraiser Gets Backing Of Flames' Alumni

O'Brien Family
CALGARY - Calgary Flames' alumni will suit up against a challenge team next month to raise money in the name of a five-year-old boy who is missing and presumed dead.

Jennifer and Rod O'Brien, the parents of Nathan O'Brien, have announced the former Flames will take on sponsors, police, politicians, family and friends in a Feb. 5 fun game at the Saddledome.

Money raised will go to the Nathan O'Brien Children's Foundation and be channelled to a number of charities.

Rod O'Brien says he hopes the game will become an annual event.

Nathan and his grandparents, Kathy and Alvin Liknes, disappeared from the grandparents' home in Calgary last July.

Their bodies have never been found and murder charges have previously been laid in their disappearance.

O'Brien says some friends came up with the idea of the game to honour Nathan.

"At that time it was a small charity hockey game. But in the last four weeks it’s been exploding with people signing on to help and just create a once in a lifetime event."

The event includes a "Timbits" hockey game during one of the intermissions. O'Brien says Nathan's Timbits team took part in a game between the Calgary Flames and Phoenix Coyotes last year.

"It was a once-in-a-lifetime event to play on the big ice with the scoreboard and the crowd, so we thought we would honour the Timbits program again this year and have a team come out and do exactly what Nathan did. All the kids just loved it. It's just our way of giving back to the program that Nathan loved."

The foundation was established after an anonymous donor reached out to the O'Brien family in September with $1 million to set up a fund in Nathan's name.

The family says the generous donation came from an American businessman who was touched by their story. (CHQR, The Canadian Press)


Photo gallery Nathan O'Brien, Grandparents Missing See Gallery