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‘Hockey at its best’ in Fort Macleod

Action from the Fort Macleod Hockey Through the Ages alumni tournament, which has raised close to $100,000 in two years for worthy causes in the community. PHOTO BY FRANK MCTIGHE, THE MACLEOD GAZETTE

The Hockey Through the Ages alumni tournament in Fort Macleod raised $52,000 in December to support local projects. Organizers recently presented cheques to six organizations in Fort Macleod. Cheques will be issued to other groups in February. From left: George Wolstenholme, Rob Luther, Brian Reach, Scott Norlin, Val Campbell, Cole Archibald, Brendan Grant, Linda Gonnet, Liisa Gillingham, Gage DeGinnus, Susan Glover, Wes Stockton, Craig Patton, Ben Paskal, Ronda Reach, Mike Bourassa, Adam Saley and Carissa Brandon PHOTO BY FRANK MCTIGHE, THE MACLEOD GAZETTE

Hockey is Canada’s game, but in Fort Macleod the sport has developed into a major fund-raising mechanism.
The Hockey Through the Ages alumni tournament in two years has raised $97,000 for organizations in Fort Macleod.
Rob Luther came up with the idea of an alumni tournament for people who had played hockey in Fort Macleod or who had lived in the town.
Luther drafted Scott Norlin, Cole Archibald, Brian Reach, Ben Paskal, Wes Stockton, Mike Bourassa and Gage DeGinnus onto the original organizing committee.
They decided to donate proceeds from the 2017 tournament to palliative care at the Fort Macleod Health Centre. They hoped to raise enough to buy a TV.
One hundred and 12 players quickly paid the $150 registration fee, with one goalie and 12 skaters drafted onto eight teams as evenly-matched as the organizers could make them.
The tournament attracted former professionals such as Jason Widmer, who was drafted by the New York Islanders, and Jim Baird, who played 10 seasons in the old Western and other minor pro leagues in the 1960s.
The arena was packed throughout the weekend as parents and community members came out to watch their grown children play and to reminisce about Minor Hockey days gone by.
Live and silent auctions at an evening function raised more money, and a local family made a sizable donation.
Much to its surprise and delight the organizing committee turned over $45,000 from that first tournament to the Fort Macleod Health Care Auxiliary Association.
The 112 spots in the tournament filled up again in 2018 and the community again rallied around the cause.
Once again, community members turned out to watch the games and reminisce.
Suppliers reduced and in some cases waived fees to help with fund-raising, and people again bid like mad during the Saturday evening social function.
The result this year was a profit of $52,000.
The tournament organizers had decided ahead of time to spread the money around and invited requests from local organizations.
Being cautious again in their expectations for fund-raising, the organizers chose six groups to receive a total of $28,900.
Cheques were presented earlier this month in a small
ceremony to the W.A. Day Wolf Pack Sports Academy, Community Health Champions, FCSS, Extendicare, Foothills Centre and the Fort Macleod Aquaponic Greenhouse Society.
“You’re all worthy causes,” Scott Norlin told the representatives of the groups gathered at the arena.
Organizers have gone back to the list of original applicants who didn’t make the cut in order to distribute the remaining $21,000.
“It was hockey at its best,” Brian Reach said.

1 Comments For This Post

  1. Frank Duske Says:

    This is awesome, way to go organizers!!
    I have many fond memories of my days refereeing in Fort Macleod, (most of them fond) 😉