Participants in the annual Cowichan Valley Memorial Midget C Hockey Tournament always leave with a bagful of hockey memories from the event and plenty of mementos.
That’s one area where the tournament has always served the players well and it continues under the leadership of tournament director Kathy Irving, her right-hand workhorse Kristen Arnold in Duncan and the rest of the hard-working committee.
The 10th anniversary of the event that started as the Ryan Clark Memorial is coming up Friday, March 15 through Sunday, March 17 when 12 teams hit the ice at Fuller Lake Arena and the Island Savings Centre in Duncan. Based on past experience and word of mouth for those who’ve never had any direct involvement, the players ready to do battle this time are super stoked about it.
Besides unique trophies that honour the seven memorial families brought together by unfortunate tragedies, the common bond of hockey among them makes this tournament a guaranteed hit every time. Many players go into it seeking to win one of the prestigious trophies as well as team success as the ultimate goals.
The commemorative items given out at this event go far beyond the norm. For example, a basket of goodies is presented to the manager of each team.
“I’ve given a manager’s basket out for 10 years,” said Irving. “Lots of them travel here and it’s for their hotel rooms. They can choose to share them if they want.”
MVPs of each team in each game are awarded commemorative towels and every player in the tournament receives a special hoodie. Lots of keepsakes, loads of fun for all over three days.
There are 12 teams entered, down from 15 last year, mainly due to the conflicting spring break times for students. Cowichan School District 79 is the only one currently on spring break.
“Next year, we’re considering going a week later so we can incorporate the South Island teams,” noted Irving.
Teams in each of two pools play five round robin games before the playoffs – two Friday, two Saturday and one Sunday. The final is at 6:30 p.m. Sunday.
Pool A includes: Lake Cowichan Lakers, Cowichan Valley C2, Victoria, Cowichan Valley C3, Triport and Mission. The entries in Pool B are: Saanich, Cowichan Valley C1, Port Alberni, Nanaimo, Campbell River and Powell River.
There are 34 games overall – 23 at Fuller Lake and 11 in Duncan. That includes alumni games taking place Sunday involving teams from the memorial families at 1 and 4:40 pm. at Fuller Lake.
Irving invites anyone who’d like to watch a game and pick out the MVPs to report to the information table since the committee members won’t have the time to do it all themselves.
The tournament is also partnering with Dr. Stu Gershman and Buddy Check for Jesse, a program that focuses on mental health in memory of his son.
Proceeds of the Memorial Midget C Tournament have been put to extensive use. Some $40,000 has been given away in the 10 years, including a $5,000 contribution to a GoFundMe page following the Humboldt Broncos bus crash last year.