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Fort Macleod alumni hockey tournament raises $50,000 for palliative care

Jim Baird, at 78 the oldest player in the tournament, with his son Mark Baird.

Jim Baird, at 78 the oldest player in the tournament, with his son Mark Baird.

Orange captain Scott Norlin drafted a strong team that won the tournament. Norlin]s team beat Cole Archbald's squad in the final. Standing, from left: Trevor Curran, Scott Norlin, Mike Wevers, Jason Widmer, Ben Asuchak, Steve Hoglund, Tim Davis, Steve Vandervalk, Mike Tarnes and Eric Eremenko. Kneeling, from left: Brad Heric, Mike Davis, Peter Schwindt and Dave Housenga.

Orange captain Scott Norlin drafted a strong team that won the tournament. Norlin]s team beat Cole Archbald’s squad in the final. Standing, from left: Trevor Curran, Scott Norlin, Mike Wevers, Jason Widmer, Ben Asuchak, Steve Hoglund, Tim Davis, Steve Vandervalk, Mike Tarnes and Eric Eremenko. Kneeling, from left: Brad Heric, Mike Davis, Peter Schwindt and Dave Housenga.

Palliative care at the Fort Macleod Health Centre will receive a boost of close to $50,000 from a three-day alumni hockey tournament.
The Hockey Through the Ages charity tournament far exceeded the expectations of organizers, who initially would have been pleased if the event made enough to buy a television for the palliative care program.
“The main thing was to get everybody home to play, and get the tournament paid for,” organizer Luther said. “It worked out pretty good.”
Luther came up with the idea of a tournament and enlisted Scott Norlin, Mike Bourassa, Brian Reach, Ben Paskal, Gage DeGinnus, Cole Archibald and Wes Stockton to help organize.
“Without those seven guys it would never have flown,” Luther said. “They were just awesome.”
The tournament was open to players aged 25 years and over who had either played Minor Hockey in Fort Macleod or had lived in the town.
The tournament proved so popular that eight teams of 13 skaters and one goalie quickly formed, with players paying $150 apiece to register.
The community quickly rallied to the cause, with the Town of Fort Macleod slashing the ice rental fees by 50 per cent and the Elks Club providing the community hall for the cabaret free of charge.
When word of the tournament got out, businesses and individuals began to call with offers of support.
At the cabaret Saturday night at the Fort Macleod and District Community Hall, bidders were competitive and generous.
“So many of the items were going above retail,” Norlin said. “It was just unbelievable.”
The live auction raised $15,500, with eight tickets to a Calgary Flames game with a limousine ride to Calgary fetching the top bid of $4,500.
Four tickets to an Edmonton Oilers game and a signed Mark Messier jersey netted another $2,600, and a weekend at Kimberley sold for $2,300.
The silent auction generated another $9,070.
On Sunday afternoon of the tournament organizers received a substantial donation from the TJ and Wendy Larson family.
“Their donation was to our tournament but was in honor of one of Fort Macleod’s greatest fund-raisers,” Norlin said. “Ted Larson spent a lifetime fund-raising for countless events and functions in Fort Macleod and passed his giving spirit onto his family. We are extremely thankful for their generous donation.”
On the ice, Norlin’s team emerged as champion on Sunday afternoon with a lineup that included Fort Macleod Minor Hockey product Jason Widmer, who was drafted in 1992 by the New York Islanders of the National Hockey League.
Widmer, who also played for San Jose Sharks and the Canadian national team, attracted the attention of young fans who lined up Friday night for his autograph.
Jim Baird, who also played professionally, was the oldest player in the tournament at the age of 78.
Norlin said the tournament will return next year, with proceeds going to another charity that has yet to be determined.
“Everybody was so giving,” Norlin said. “Everybody had such a good time.”

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