Hockey for Hospice raises over $150,000

By Joel Charron

What started out 16 years ago as a skate-a-thon at Amherstburg Arena has flourished into a hockey tournament that has raised over $1.4 million for the Hospice of Windsor-Essex County.

The 2011 Hockey for Hospice tournament ran Dec. 27-29 in four separate municipalities including Amherstburg, Tecumseh, LaSalle and Windsor.

Mainly Windsor-Essex County teams made up the 76-team field, which was an increase from the 73 teams the tournament had last year. Players ranged from seven to 14-years-old, from the novice to bantam divisions. There were roughly 1,200 players, both boys and girls, in all that participated in the 163 games played.

 

Two unknown players race down the ice for the puck. The Hockey for Hospice 16th Annual Hockey Tournament raised over $150,000 for Hospice.

This year the tournament has raised just over $155,000. According to tournament organizer Tim Beaulieu, over $85,000 will be donated to Hospice after expenses.

“We’re climbing up there,” said Beaulieu. “Last year we raised $141,500 and this year we raised over $150,000.   That’s a big number. We always show up in the morning on the first day and have no idea what we are going to receive.

Beaulieu said it’s because of the hard work and generosity of the children who play in the tournament that make it so successful.

“To this day the kids have never disappointed,” he stated. “They always come through.”

This year the LaSalle Atom Team Six Mr. Meat Market team was honoured into the Hockey for Hospice Hall of Fame for raising $5,066.50. Beaulieu said it was the first LaSalle team to do so.

Beaulieu, who started the fundraiser 16 years ago, said he’s proud to see what the tournament has evolved into because he sees first hand what the money does for Hospice. He also mentioned he’s proud to see the children take an interest and learn what Hospice is all about.

“We go into the dressing rooms on the first day and we ask questions about hospice and they are telling us the answer,” he said.

Beaulieu said not only do kids have fun playing hockey during the holiday season, it teaches them valuable lessons as well.

“It’s teaching the kids to give back to the community at a young age is invaluable,” state Bealieau.

For Beaulieu, it is truly a family event as all three of his sons are involved in some sort of capacity with the tournament.

“They have been involved in this tournament since they were young,” he said. “If they weren’t playing they were volunteering between games.”

Beaulieu also praised the over 50 volunteers that help run the tournament.

“There is no way that one, two or five people could pull this off,” he said. “It’s because of their hard work and dedication that this tournament has grown into what it is.”

 

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