There will be more teams hitting the ice when the South Delta Alumni Hockey Tournament returns to the Ladner Leisure Centre next month.
Even though the inaugural event had to stick-handle its way through COVID-19 restrictions a year ago, it was a huge success, raising $15,000 for the Delta Hospital and Community Health Foundation and additional funds for the South Delta Minor Hockey Association. This year's Saturday, Feb. 11 fundraising tournament will increase to eight alumni teams and more than 120 players.
“Every single player is coming back from last year except one who has a conflict that weekend, so that’s a pretty big statement at how well it went,” said Matt Ryan, one of the tournament organizers who now has SD Hockey Alumni as a registered society with a board of directors. “Not only will we have two additional teams, but the roster sizes will be increasing too. It’s great to see more people want to be involved and we are to the point where we have run out of jersey colours, which is a good problem to have.”
It was Ryan who came up with the alumni tourney idea after constantly seeing former South Delta players on different beer league teams. He was also able to get support from the local corporate community including Four Winds Brewery that ran a beer garden. The Mills family business is back again this year and are promising to do even more.
“They are brewing a batch of light lager that is being done especially for our event,” said Ryan.
He is pleased the City of Delta is not only allowing the beer to be consumed in the south side seating again but children can also be in the section with their parents.
“That was one of the things that really stood out last year. It wasn’t the (players’) buddies coming out and wanting to drink beer but rather the community and family members coming out to be supportive of the event,” he said. “Basically for my (young) kids, that’s the first time they have seen me play because typically my men’s league games are always 8 or 9 p.m.”
Games will take place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.