Fort McMurray fire in hearts of players, coaches and leagues

Among the pressure and the spotlight, teams, players and the Canadian Hockey League have not forgotten about the tragedy in Fort McMurray.

Among the pressure and the spotlight, teams, players and the Canadian Hockey League have not forgotten about the tragedy in Fort McMurray.

At all levels, those involved in the MasterCard Memorial Cup are doing what they can.

It started on the eve Memorial Cup’s arrival in Red Deer, when the CHL announced a huge monetary donation to the Red Cross in the sum of $50,000 as well as the proceeds of the 50/50 draws from the games on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

MasterCard joined in on the donation train, by matching the $50,000 bringing it to $100,000.

“For the first time in 42 years the Memorial Cup will be presented in Alberta,” said David Branch, CHL president. “While we join here in celebration of our great game, may our thoughts extend to the residents of Fort McMurray, a great hockey community, and the many Albertans affected by the tragic wildfires. On behalf of the Canadian Hockey League, we pledge our support to the Canadian Red Cross to help those in need during this most difficult time.”

The 50/50 draw donations will be made on behalf of the Red Deer Host Organizing Committee. Friday night’s 50/50 pot was $21,523. Saturday’s pot was $21,153.

Before Saturday’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies vs. Brandon Wheat Kings game, two Red Deer Emergency Services firefighters were honoured for their efforts fighting the Fort McMurray fire. The packed Centrium gave them a standing ovation.

Midway through the game, a giant flag with signatures of support from Memorial Cup fans was passed around the upper deck of the arena. The flag will be sent up to Fort McMurray.

Then on Thursday, Red Deer Rebels forward Conner Bleackley offered to donate $20 for every goal his team scores during the tournament. The High River native reflected on the impact the 2013 floods had on his family and community.

“I know how important and uplifting it is to receive the support from everyone across Canada and the world,” he wrote in a tweet.

He plans to make the donation on May 30, after the tournament has ended and to coincide with the federal government’s May 31 deadline for their matching donations.

Bleackley even tried to add some goals of his own to strengthen the pot, but was stopped cold by London Knight goalie Tyler Parsons. Bleackley returned to the Rebels lineup Friday night against the Knights. He missed all of the post-season with a cut on his wrist in the last regular season game.

mcrawford@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ben King scores for the Red Deer Rebels during the third period of a Western Hockey League game against the Calgary Hitmen at the Westerner Park Centrium Saturday. (Photo by Rob Wallator/Red Deer Rebels)
Rebels complete comeback to pick up first win of season

Rebels 3 Hitmen 2 (OT) The Red Deer Rebels were able to… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Red Deer dips below 300 active COVID-19 cases

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer continued to drop… Continue reading

Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games board chair, was named 2020 Sport Event Volunteer of the Year at the Prestige Awards. (File photo by Advocate staff)
WATCH: Lyn Radford wins award for volunteer efforts

The board chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer… Continue reading

Mount Pearl Senior High in Mount Pearl, N.L., remains closed on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. The provincial health authority says there were 185 cases at 22 schools, including 145 infections among staff and students of one high school in Mount Pearl that was an early epicentre of the outbreak. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Daly
In Newfoundland and Labrador, three ingredients made for explosive COVID-19 outbreak

ST. JOHN’S, N.L. — With her classes, three part-time jobs and a… Continue reading

A passenger places a tag on luggage at the departure terminal at Toronto Pearson Airport, in Mississauga, Ont., Friday, May 24, 2019. The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has prompted many recent immigrants to leave Canada and return to their countries of origin, where they have more social and familial connections. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Young
COVID-19 pandemic prompts recent newcomers to leave Canada for their home countries

OTTAWA — The economic and life disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic… Continue reading

Rail cars wait for pickup in Winnipeg, Sunday, March 23, 2014. The fierce debate over cross-border pipelines is putting more Canadian oil and gas on trains destined for the United States — a country experts fear is ill-equipped for the potential consequences. THE CANADIAN PRESS/John Woods
As debate rages over cross-border pipelines, U.S. analysts brace for more oil by rail

WASHINGTON — The fierce debate over cross-border pipelines is putting more Canadian… Continue reading

Pictures and notes in from friends and classmates make up a memorial in support and memory of Aubrey Berry, 4, and her sister Chloe, 6, during a vigil held at Willows Beach in Oak Bay, B.C., on December 30, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Mother of slain daughters supports recent changes to Canada’s Divorce Act

VICTORIA — Legal experts and a mother whose ex-partner was convicted of… Continue reading

Radio and television personality Dick Smyth is shown in an undated handout photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO
Dick Smyth, Canadian maestro of news radio commentary, dies at 86

TORONTO — Radio and television personality Dick Smyth, whose booming commentary filled… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Funeral for Walter Gretzky to be held Saturday in home town of Brantford, Ont.

The funeral for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter will take place… Continue reading

A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa on May 14, 2013. A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the judicial warrant process at Canada's spy agency — an issue that made headlines last summer — stretch back at least nine years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Spy warrant shortcomings stretch back almost a decade, newly released audit shows

OTTAWA — A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the estimated $29 million… Continue reading

Most Read