Red Deerians will gather for a Manitoba Social to remember the life of Craig Kinney and raise money for his family.
Kinney, a former video coach with the Red Deer Rebels, passed away this past September after complications from a liver transplant.
When Kinney was 17, he was diagnosed with primary sclerosing cholangitis, which is described as a chronic liver disease in which the bile ducts inside and outside the liver become inflamed and scarred, and eventually narrowed or blocked.
This disease forced him to retire from playing hockey at an early age, but he continued coaching and working with different organizations, such as the Rebels and Red Deer Minor Hockey.
Kinney is survived by his wife Stacey, 15-year-old daughter Ryan, nine-year-old son Matthew and five-year-old daughter Lennon.
There will be a Manitoba Social fundraiser at Bo’s Bar and Stage this Friday to help support the family and collect money for the children’s future education. The goal is to raise $10,000 for the children – there will be a silent auction in addition to ticket sales.
“We want to celebrate Craig’s life and at the same time raise some money for his kid’s education,” said Myles Peake, a childhood friend of Kinney and an organizer for the event.
“He was active in the community – he was a Red Deer Kinsmen for a lot of years, he worked for the Red Deer Rebels, as well as his career with Window Masters and Peavey Mart. He was just a straight-up awesome guy. He was the type of guy who would drop everything to come help you if you needed it.
“We all want to help his family move forward. I think it’ll be emotional for everybody.”
The two longtime friends are originally from Brandon, Man. Back in their home province, “a social” would be held to raise money for a particular cause.
“The best thing about socials, and anyone from Manitoba can attest to this, is it’s all of the community coming together,” Peake said, adding Kinney was a proud Manitoban.
“Even if people didn’t know him all that well, this is an opportunity to come and help raise money. It brings that small-town feel.”