Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern Alberta (RMHCNA) is laying the groundwork for a 20-team atom and novice hockey tournament to be held next Family Day weekend at the C2 and Glendon arena.
All funds raised from the tournament will go towards Edmonton’s Ronald McDonald house, which provides lodging for families of children being treated at Stollery. Many Lakelanders end up using their services when a child of theirs falls seriously ill.
RMHCNA says the tournament has the potential to attract teams from all over Alberta, BC and Saskatchewan, bringing close to 300 families into the Bonnyville area. The teams involved will consist of kids between the ages of 6 and 10.
The tournament is being developed by RMHCNA alongside Marcy and Travis Farrer, who have had to use the Edmonton house in the past and now want to give back. Travis is the president of Bonnyville Minor Ball and site on the board of governors for Bonnyville Minor Hockey.
“Everybody’s going to receive a pair of Ronald McDonald socks” Travis told town council. “So instead of your traditional hockey socks you’ll be wearing the Ronald McDonald socks. Now the 280 kids that come in are going to go back to their home hockey associations and be wearing those socks for practice. It’s really going to shed light on the tournament and bring a lot of awareness to the initiative behind it.”
Farrer added that he got sanctioning from Hockey Alberta on the tournament, clearing any insurance issues.
“I do think this a good step – not only for the town of Bonnyville and the community – but the Lakeland region as well as bringing awareness to a great charity like Ronald McDonald House.
“We all hope we never have to utilize it, but when you do… it’s close to our hearts because of what we went through.”
The tournament was originally going to be bigger, but with some changes to the AJHL’s schedule the Pontiacs will now have a home game on Friday and Sunday. Farrer says he will approach Pontiacs coach Rick Swan in the future to see if the Junior A team can request having road games during the long weekend, allowing for expanded tournaments.