The puck is almost ready to be dropped during the second annual Braestone Winter Classic Charity Pond Hockey Tournament.
The tournament in support of the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Centre is set for Feb. 3 to 5 at Braestone at 3288 Line 9 N. in Oro-Medonte. Ted Markle, the organizer of the event, says he is aiming to make the experience even better for participants, spectators and families this time around.
“The spirit of the weekend is small-town Canada and family,” he said. “It’s about people coming together for a great cause.”
The event was inspired by Markle’s brother, Jeff, who died of cancer more than a year ago.
“My brother was the absolute perfect person with whom to go to a hockey tournament,” he said. “He made sure everyone felt welcome, he had an incredible sense of humour, and he was the person you just wanted to be with both on the ice and after the game.”
Last year, the event raised more than $77,000 for the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Centre.
“I think that’s important for people to realize,” Markle said. “We really convert those dollars donated to go to the cause.”
The fundraising goal this year is to top last year’s total.
“Corporate sponsorships are off to a fantastic start,” Markle said. “One of the great things about the way the event is organized is you can donate in the name of a player or a team.”
This year, 20 teams will skate in the tournament, and registrations are filling up quickly.
“The long-term forecast looks good, and the pond is in excellent shape,” Markle said. “The one thaw we had with the rain a few weeks back helped create one of the best surfaces we’ve had.”
The tournament’s playoffs will take place Feb. 5 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Children can enjoy the event for free, while adult spectators are asked to make a donation of $10.
Teams can be registered here.