TORONTO - Tim Robbins loves the New York Rangers but has recently been given one less thing to love about the team - they weren't able to re-sign pest Sean Avery this summer.
Fortunately, the actor and hockey fanatic will have a chance to say his goodbyes when both he and Avery take part in the Festival Cup charity hockey game at Air Canada Centre on Sept. 5. They're among a group of celebrities and NHLers that will be on the ice in support of Right To Play.
Robbins is looking forward to it.
"I did request to be on a line with Sean Avery, who I am very sorry that the Rangers lost," he said Thursday.
The final roster of participants won't be released until next week but the list of those already committed is pretty impressive - NHLers Joe Thornton, Jason Spezza, Curtis Joseph, Matt Stajan, Robyn Regehr, Mike Cammalleri, Andrew Ference and Avery.
The celebrities include Robbins, Alan Thicke, "Juno" director Jason Reitman, D.B. Sweeney and Cameron Bancroft.
Robbins has played in several charity games over the years but still gets a little nervous when he steps on the ice with NHLers.
"Those guys are fast," he said. "I seem to be slowing down a little bit. We'll see what happens.
"It's always fun though. I don't think there's anyone going to try laying anyone out."
Robbins first started playing hockey as a kid while growing up in New York. He gave up the game for a time before finding his way back in 1993 and has been participating regularly since then.
There are several websites that feature photos of the six-foot-five Robbins playing roller hockey on the streets of Manhattan. As a tall defenceman, he's comfortable being called the Chris Pronger of celebrity hockey.
"I'm about his same height," said Robbins. "I'll take that."
When he appears in the celebrity game on the opening weekend of the Toronto International Film Festival, he'll have more to speak with Avery about than that player's new contract with the Dallas Stars.
Robbins says one of his favourite hockey movies is "The Rocket" - the 2005 film about Maurice Richard in which Avery played a small part.
Tickets for the celebrity game can be purchased through Ticketmaster.