Carol Derbyshire

New fundraising record set at Hockey for Hospice

 

By Ron Giofu

 

Another year, another new fundraising record at Hockey for Hospice.

This year’s 23rd annual tournament, held in late December, saw games played on 11 ice pads in Amherstburg, LaSalle, Tecumseh, Lakeshore and at Central Park Athletics in Windsor and saw players bring in $347,121.  There were 132 teams in this past tournament and over 2,000 players, said co-chair Tim Beaulieu.

Locally, Beaulieu noted that “we get great support from the Amherstburg Minor Hockey Association year in, year out” and that many coaches from Amherstburg and surrounding municipalities also played in the tournament when they were younger. House league teams from the novice, atom, pee wee and bantam divisions came from as far as Tilbury and Mooretown to participate.

Beaulieu said in addition to raising thousands for the Hospice of Windsor-Essex County annually, they also make donations to such causes as the Miracle League of Amherstburg and Ronald McDonald House. This year, they introduced a $500 scholarship for tournament alumni.

The event started as a skate-a-thon at the former AMA Arena and has grown to where they have a “tremendous amount” of volunteers helping out. Beaulieu said they have surpassed the $3 million mark in fundraising.

The Amherstburg Red Socks, took first place in Peewee Division F in the Hospice Tournament. (Submitted photo)

“It’s incredible what the kids have raised,” he said. “Did I ever envision it? Not in my wildest dreams.”

Beaulieu revealed that the tournament started in memory of a former staff member, who was only 21-years-old when she developed a nagging cough. Upon getting the cough examined by a doctor, spots were seen on her lungs and she died months later. The young woman’s initials – Y.L. – were incorporated into the tournament’s logo this year.

Beaulieu said it was at the urging of retired Hospice executive director Carol Derbyshire that they make the story public.

“We saw what the Hospice did,” he said. “We started this as a skate-a-thon and look what it has grown into.”

The tournament has grown to the point where Beaulieu’s family and the family of his other co-chair Paul Pietraszko are now involved and capable of running the tournament into the next generation.