On-ice Oak Bay tradition supporting community

Hockey tournament creates memories, offers chance to give back

Sean Tackaberry

Sean Tackaberry

A Boxing Day tradition that began as a way to get friends together for a bit of indoor pond hockey over the holidays is evolving into a full-fledged fundraiser.

When a friend of Oak Bay Xmas Cup tournament organizers Jeff Lougheed and Sean Tackaberry was diagnosed with renal cancer a couple of years back, it inspired them to reach out to a community outside the hockey rink.

“We thought, let’s take this event from a casual shinny game to a community event,” Lougheed said.

Last year’s second annual event raised $2,000 for the B.C. Cancer Foundation. This time around, the friends are upping the ante. They aim to raise twice that amount for the MS Society of Canada, in honour of a friend who more recently was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

“One of the things we’re trying to do here is (acknowledge that) everyone is impacted by some sort of an issue or illness,” Lougheed said. “Family members and friends are all affected.”

Most of the players who take part either grew up in Oak Bay or live here now, he said. The evening of Dec. 26 – games go from 4 to 10 p.m. – is a perfect day to host the tournament, with many people home for the holidays.

The Christmas spirit prevails around the Oak Bay Recreation Centre arena, with people keen to give back in some way to charities that can use extra financial help. Donation drop boxes will be onsite at the arena and raffle and 50/50 draw tickets will be available.

The plan is to rotate the tournament’s charity of choice between various medical foundations and support groups, Lougheed said.

The 64 tournament spots fill up fast. Players are divided into four teams, with people of various skill levels on each. The $75 cost includes two games and a commemorative jersey.

For more information about playing or donating contact oakbayxmascup@gmail.com.

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