This past weekend a local hockey team’s tournament pitched in to make sure the next generation of hockey players won’t miss out on what is an entrenched Canadian tradition – ‘beer league hockey.’
The Gulch Cats recreational men’s hockey team hosted their 11th tournament and this time raised funds for the Trail chapter of KidSport.
The Cats have been chasing the puck around at the Cominco Arena for over 30 years and like other local clubs, such as the Rossland Warriors and the Beaver Valley Avalanche, regularly donate funds raised at their tournaments to a charity of choice.
“Every time we have the tournament all proceeds from the raffle we donate to any kids that are in need . . . and this year we chose KidSport,” said Cats player and tournament organizer Dan Abenante.
The tournament included eight recreational teams of 25 years old and older, and four Old Timer teams of age 50+.
“There’s no hitting or slap shots. Guys are going out there to have fun, and we’ve got the whole banquet and I think everyone just comes to play, eat, dance and enjoy some Italian food.”
In addition to the raffle, the team challenge is becoming a substantial source of revenue for various charities.
During the course of the evening, teams chip in what they can to further promote the cause, each team trying to outdo the other. This year, players at the banquet donated approximately $3,000 to the Trail KidSport chapter, says Abenante.
KidSport director Betty Anne Marino is thrilled with the support of all the teams, and the growing number that contribute.
“Having the Cats now come in as a Trail based team, every community has really stepped up and contributed substantially to promote the program,” said Marino.
“It’s carrying on their tradition of wanting to support children, in particular those in the community.”
With spring registration for a number of sports coming up, the recent support is timely.
“We’re expecting an influx of applications again and so this support directly helps us to provide for those kids,” said Marino.
KidSport endeavours to help families with financial barriers by providing funds for registration so children can play.
“This year our whole focus is to build more awareness about what we are trying to do and what the program provides; so people can know how to access support and how to donate money too.”
KidSport has helped close to 30 kids access up to 15 different sports in Greater Trail since September.
For more information on KidSport visit www.kidsporttrail.ca or visit them on FaceBook.
Applications can be picked up at the Greater Trail aquatic centre or phone 364-0888.