Stephen Brennan

Hockey for Hospice raises $339,063

 

By Jolene Perron

 

“Every year it scares me because every year the pressure is on the following year, but it’s a good thing. This year, we just seemed to blow the doors off.”

Paul Pietraszko, co-organizer of Hockey for Hospice said while the setup is busy and at times can be all consuming, everything “seems to vanish with that first number.” This year, the fundraiser was able to top their goal, once again, bringing in an additional $37,000 in comparison to 2016.

Players of a variety of ages took to the ice Dec. 27 through Dec. 29 for Hockey for Hospice. The tournament spanned over five area arenas, and brought in a total of $339,063 for Hospice, which is up from last year.

The fundraiser was originally begun as a skate-a-thon at the now-demolished AMA Arena, which was founded by Tim Beaulieu. Pietraszko explained Beaulieu was in need of Hospice and he felt, after seeing what they do, that Hospice was where he needed to focus his energy. Pietraszko said the tournament since then has “grown (by) leaps and bounds,” thanks to their family, friends, and community partners.

Across five arenas including the Libro Centre, a total of 145 teams played 318 games of hockey. The tournament included approximately 2,100 players, as well as all of their families and relatives who came out to watch the games, and all of the local arenas were simply bursting at the seams during the three-day tournament Dec. 27 through Dec. 29.

Players of a variety of ages took to the ice Dec. 27 through Dec. 29 for Hockey for Hospice. The tournament spanned over five area arenas, and brought in a total of $339,063 for Hospice, which is up from last year.

“I’m speechless with the amount of work they have done, even right up to last minute, bringing in new parts to the program, parts to the event all in support of Hospice. When you ask how I feel about it, amazed, and absolutely grateful for the support that they give,” said Stephen Brennan, senior director for Hospice. “It provides the opportunity for hospice to keep offering our services without fees.”

Players of a variety of ages took to the ice Dec. 27 through Dec. 29 for Hockey for Hospice. The tournament spanned over five area arenas, and brought in a total of $339,063 for Hospice, which is up from last year.

In total, the fundraiser, which has been in existence for 22 years, has brought in more than $2.6 million for Hospice. Every year they have been able to say they topped the previous year, and this year is no different. In addition to the growing sum of money, the tournament itself continues to grow – this year, they had an additional 13 teams. Pietraszko explained the tournament grows consistently every year, and they have no idea what the final number can, or will be, all they know is it will continue to run.

“It’s the kids that do it, and they’ve done a phenomenal job with all the money they have raised,” said Pietraszko. “The kids can ask, but the people have to give and the people just keep giving and giving. Every year we get nervous about whether we’re going to get enough referees, get enough ice, and we always seem to get it. It will always be something exciting, it usually gets a little bit scary, but then that first puck is dropped, and the pledge money comes in and everything is fine.”