02/06/2015 11:12 EST | Updated 04/08/2015 05:59 EDT

Superheroes suit up for charity game honouring missing Calgary boy

CALGARY - Former hockey superstars laced up their skates for a challenge game at Calgary's Saddledome last night in memory of a little hockey-playing fan of superheroes who hasn't been seen since last summer.

A crowd of around 15,000 people turned out to see several members of the Calgary Flames alumni play a team that included police and emergency responders to raise money for the Nathan O'Brien Children's Foundation.

The foundation is named in honour of the five-year-old boy who disappeared last June, along with his grandparents, Kathy and Alvin Liknes (LIHK'-ness).

Nathan's family was given a standing ovation as they dropped a ceremonial puck to start the game, while many in the crowd had tears in their eyes during a video tribute to Nathan prior to the faceoff.

Jennifer O'Brien, Nathan's mother, coached one of the teams and wore a shirt depicting Spiderman, one of her son's favourite superheroes.

More than $75,000 was raised for the foundation, although more money is expected to flow in from the game for distribution to various charities.

Nathan's father, Rod, said the game was important to the family.

"We were very blessed with a lot of community support and we're just hoping that we can help other kids. Thinking about us or buying a ticket to the game is showing a little bit of superhero in everyone."

Former Calgary Flames player Sheldon Kennedy said the NHLers had no trouble filling out their roster for the game.

"We were full within a day of sending out an email to see who wants to play. I think we had 26 guys."

Current Flame Curtis Glencross said he's happy the club was able to lend a hand when needed.

"We're all in for any community support. You have to give the ownership group credit for that. I have a charity of my own in the summertime and they do a great job of supporting it."

Nathan's body and those of his grandparents have never been found. Murder charges have previously been laid. (CHQR)