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Charity hockey tournament supports palliative care in Fort Macleod

Past and present hockey players will lace up the blades in December in support of palliative care at Fort Macleod Health Centre.
The inaugural Fort Macleod Charity Hockey Tournament is Dec. 15-17 at Fort Macleod and District Sports Centre.
Rob Luther came up with the idea of a sort of Fort Macleod hockey alumni tournament to support a valuable service in the community.
“It’s a great way to get guys together and raise some money,” Luther said.
Luther assembled an organizing committee that includes Scott Norlin, Mike Bourassa, Ben Paskal, Wes Stockton, Gage DeGinnus, Brian Reach and Cole Archibald.
The tournament is open to men and women aged 25 years and over who have either lived in Fort Macleod or played Minor Hockey here.
Players sign up individually and will be “drafted” onto one of eight teams, with room for 13 skaters and one goalie.
“You don’t know who you are going to end up with,” Luther said.
Allowing people to sign up individually opens the tournament to more people.
“Half the people who have signed up now wouldn’t have played if they had to find a team to play for,” Paskal said.
Organizers will endeavour to ensure the teams are evenly matched in terms of age and skill level to make the tournament competitive.
Each team is guaranteed four games, including one in a playoff round that will pit the first-, second-, third- and fourth-place teams against their opposite number from the other pool.
Players also get to keep the jerseys being made for the tournament.
Registration is limited to the first 104 players and eight goalies who pay the $150 fee.
By Friday, 95 players had registered with 72 having already paid the $150 registration fee. They’re coming from across Alberta and as far west as Victoria.
Players range in age from 25 up to 79-year-old Jim Baird, a local man who played professional hockey.
Coreen (nee Field) Herring is the only woman who has registered to date.
The organizers had no idea what response they would get to the tournament, but are pleased people still feel a strong connection to Fort Macleod even though some of them no longer live here.
Games will be played according to traditional oldtimer rules with no body contact and no slapshots. Games will feature two 25-minute periods of running time.
There will be a beer gardens at the rink on Friday, Saturday and Sunday afternoon, with a cabaret Saturday night at the community hall. Fort Macleod Elks are providing the hall free of charge to tournament organizers.
The Town of Fort Macleod is also helping out by cutting the ice rental fees by 50 per cent.
Donations are being accepted for silent and live auctions that will supplement fund-raising.
“Any money raised stays in town,” Norlin stressed. “I think that is part of the reason we’ve got so many people jumping on board.”
Volunteers are also needed to officiate and scorekeep.
The deadline to register is Nov. 25, with the draft to be held early in December.
To get involved contact any of the organizers: Rob Luther, 403-308-0458; Brian Reach, 403-634-2205; Scott Norlin, 403-331-9068; Mike Bourassa, 403-330-3546; Wes Stockton. 403-715-1937; Cole Archibald, 403-317-4230; Ben Paskal, 403-894-6765; or Gage DeGinnus, 403-795-3703.
Players can also register by sending their name, phone number, age and prefered position to fmcharityhockey@gmail.com and sending a cheque for $150 to P.O. Box 397, Fort Macleod, T0L 0Z0.
There is also a Facebook page titled Fort Macleod Charity Draft Hockey tournament.

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