A pair of Hall of Fame hockey players had rave reviews of the Energy City and spent a lot of face-to-face time with the community during Thursday night's Estevan Bruins Sportsman's Dinner.

Paul Coffey and Doug Gilmour were the special guests for the annual fundraiser, held at the Power Dodge Curling Centre. And former Bruins play-by-play announcer Rob Mahon was the host.

Gilmour was very impressed with the city and its amenities.

"Saw the sports centre, and what a building... it's pretty special. Some of the junior rinks that I've played in, coached in, GM'd in, it's not as nice as this."

Coffey said Estevan is a place that's carved out a spot on the map of the hockey world.

"It's just one of those places I hear about. That's from guys I either played with or coached. I work with the Oilers right now. I know Glen Gulutzan is a Saskatchewan boy, talks about Estevan, talks about the team... you just always hear about Estevan. It's just one of those names... Legacy, and community-run."

Coffey, who works for the Edmonton Oilers, is also familiar with Estevan-product, and Oilers-prospect, Max Wanner.

A full crowd was on hand to enjoy the dinner - brisket and ribs from Prairie Smoke & Spice BBQ out of Regina - along with a live auction and visits to the tables from Coffey and Gilmour.

signed photos of each player

Before the event, Coffey - the NHL's all-time leading scorer amongst defencemen - said he was able to spend some time with some of the local talent.

"Just talked to Boston Tait - had a nice chat with him. He's a defenceman, an aspiring guy, wants to play hockey for a living, wants to go as far you can. All you can do is work. You can't have anybody want it more than you."

The six-foot Tate is coming off a season where he racked up 11 goals and 13 assists in 29 games with the U15 AA Estevan Bruins as a 13 year old.

Gilmour also shared advice for young players.

"Obviously you've got to have skill, work ethic. You have to really dedicate yourself to the game. You can't do this on your own. Your teammates are very special, your coaches, obviously your family, and fan support."