Scoring for charity
Puck drops on Because You Care Ice Hockey Tournament this weekend
A group of well-known hockey players is hitting the ice for a good cause this weekend.
The Because You Care Ice Hockey Tournament will be played at the Membertou Sport and Wellness Centre from Friday to Sunday.
“It’s an easy volunteer experience for (the players) — get out to play hockey and you get to raise money and awareness for a cause that touches home for a lot of people,” said Kyle MacMullin of Sydney River, one of the organizers and a participant. The 29-year-old forward played for the Strait Pirates in 2008-10 and the New Waterford Jets in 2007-08.
The event is a supplementary fundraiser for the Because You Care Cup road hockey tournament that will be held Sept. 16-17 that raises money to purchase priority equipment for the Cape Breton Regional Hospital. Since many of the players competing this weekend will be away for the hockey season at that time, they’re getting together now to help raise funds.
Notable names include former Cape Breton Screaming Eagles Chris Culligan and Marc Bourgeois, as well as current Quebec Major Junior Hockey League players Mitchell Balmas of the Gatineau Olympiques, Derek Gentile of the Quebec Remparts, and Cole Reginato of the Saint John Sea Dogs. Former Cape Breton Oilers forward Shaun Van Allen will hit the ice as well. Van Allen played 794 games in the NHL, with stops in Edmonton, Anaheim, Ottawa, Dallas and Montreal. He was recently
named interim head coach of the Carleton Ravens men’s hockey team.
That’s not to mention an array of current and former university, junior ‘A’ and junior ‘B’ skaters.
“(The public) can come out and watch and there’s some real good talent there,” said Jim MacDonald, one of the tournament
organizers and a participant. “Really, the credit goes to all the guys who are in the tournament. They’re helping put it together and I don’t really have to do a whole lot. They’re really good to help out.”
It’s the third year for the tournament, but the first on ice. The past two years, it’s been a roller hockey tournament. This year, the Membertou arena will be donating 13 hours of ice time. Referees are being covered by the local gentleman’s league MacDonald runs, while Cape Breton Beverages will be donating refreshments for the event.
They’re looking to raise $3,000 from player registration fees alone. With this weekend’s
tournament, they’ll raise a total of $7,000 over the past three years.
“It’s good to give back to the community and it’s good for the guys to learn that, so it’s a win-win for everybody,” said MacDonald.
The five teams were selected through a draft by team captains. Play begins on Friday at 5 p.m.
After a four-game round robin, the top four teams move on to the semifinals on Sunday at 11 a.m. and 12 p.m., followed by the championship at 1 p.m.
*For a complete schedule and team rosters, see page B4.
A group of local hockey players will play in the Because You Care Ice Hockey Tournament, Aug. 4-6, at the Membertou Sport and Wellness Centre. In front from left are Bryson Musgrave and Derek Gentile. Back row from left are Louie Piovesan, Jim MacDonald, Mitch Balmas, Kyle MacMullin and Chris Culligan.