The second edition of the Battle of Alberta golf tournament for the Central Alberta Child Advocacy Centre was another hit in 2021.
Current and former Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames hit the course Wednesday at the Red Deer Golf and Country Club to raise money for the CACAC. The tournament last took place in 2018.
Current Oilers Evan Bouchard and Kris Russell, as well as Flames forward Dillion Dubé played in the event this year, along with big-name alumni like Theoren Fleury, Curtis Joseph, Lanny McDonald and Glenn Anderson.
Fifteen players representing each NHL team were auctioned off to 30 teams Tuesday night at the Cambridge Hotel.
“It’s been unbelievable. The thing I always say to people is it’s fun to put all the planning into it, but when you actually see the plans come to fruition and you see all of the smiles on people’s faces, it’s rich for us and rewarding,” said CACAC CEO Mark Jones.
“Really what’s exciting is to know the end result of this is we’re helping children and families in central Alberta. That is very exciting for us as an organization. We’ve always said we’ll do everything we can to make a difference for children.”
Three years ago, in the first-ever event, about $500,000 was raised and Jones figures that can be topped this year between the auction, fees for teams, sponsors and an after party, Hot Stove and a live auction Wednesday night at the Cambridge Hotel.
“We’re hoping in that four to 500,000 range would be a good thing to do. It’d be great if we could beat that, but it’s been really good,” Jones said.
Sheldon Kennedy, former Calgary Flames forward and founder of the Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre, which the CACAC was modelled after, said events like the Battle of Alberta go a long way to help bring support to children who are struggling.
“When this group of people and the Red Deer community and central Alberta say they’re going to put an event on, it’s first-class and this is just an example of that. This is one of those events where they’ve managed to get some difference-makers,” Kennedy said.
“The Oilers and their alumni and the Flames alumni and some prominent people in this community come together as one to make a difference. It’s a great day.”
The Sheldon Kennedy Child Advocacy Centre started more than 20 years ago.
“We need a quarterback in a community to manage and to help guide and create a focus for children that have been impacted by any forms of abuse,” said Kennedy.
“To be able to get them back on that path where they’re healthy and give them that hope in their life that they dream about, that doesn’t happen when you’re disconnected.
“As a community, we need to create a community focus, we need to be able to work together and bring all those agencies that have that mandate to do this work, bring them together and teach them how to do that work so we can get better outcomes for our kids and ultimately create the communities we want to create.”