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Fort Macleod alumni hockey tournament raises $45,000 for health centre

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Organizers of the Hockey Through the Ages tournament in December presented a staggering $45,000 donation Thursday to the Fort Macleod Health Care Auxiliary Association, who will decide how the money is spent at Fort Macleod Health Centre. Back row, from left: organizers Brian Reach, Mike Bourassa, Ben Paskal, Scott Norlin, Wes Stockton, Cole Archibald and Gage DeGinnus. Front row, from left: auxiliary members Janet Tilbe, Ute Eremenko, Marilyn Roemer, Ria Vanee, Aleda Emmelcamp, Evelyn McTrowe, Dorothy Asuchak and president Donna Taylor, accepting the cheque from Rob Luther. Photo by Billie Feyter.

Organizers of a three-day alumni hockey tournament turned over a $45,000 donation Thursday to the Fort Macleod Health Care Auxiliary Association.
Organizer Rob Luther presented the cheque to auxiliary president Donna Taylor in a ceremony at the Fort Macleod and District Sports Centre.
The health care auxiliary will determine how the money is spent, ensuring it will be used in Fort Macleod.
Luther came up with the idea of a tournament last fall 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.
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 the Sunday afternoon of the tournament organizers received a substantial donation from the TJ and Wendy Larson family.
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.

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