Central Alberta hockey game for a good cause

There are plenty of Christmas traditions out there which have been a part of our celebration of the season for decades.

Some of course deal with following what families have done in their own homes for years while others can be of a cultural nature.

A former Red Deer Rebel is hoping the tradition he and some hockey pals have created catches on as well as the more main stream ones with the second annual Christmas Classic hockey game in Innisfail.

Nick Bell, along with 29 other graduates of the Innisfail Minor Hockey program will gather Dec. 23rd in the town they played hockey in to square off for what amounts to a game of shinny and in turn brings in supplies to stock the shelves of the local food bank.

“We didn’t get a number of what we raised last year but the bin they gave us was overflowing,” he said, with regard to the amount of food gathered during the first annual classic last year.

Players have already been drafted by the two teams and Bell admits it wasn’t his team which won last year’s inaugural event so revenge is on his mind with the rematch on the horizon.

“I need to get my name on that trophy,” he laughed. “I’m pretty confident but I guess I was pretty confident last year too.”

Apart from pride on the line the focus is of course on helping out the food bank during a time when the people it serves need a hand in making it through the season.

“It was a pretty obvious one over Christmas,” he said about the choice of charity. “It reaches a bunch of people.”

Bell said you can do your part by simply bringing down a non-perishable food item on the Dec. 23rd as admission to the game which begins at 2:30 p.m. in the main arena.

All the participants are graduates of the Innisfail system and they vary in age but are still close enough together to have been teammates at some point for many of them.

“Some have gone onto higher levels of hockey while others have maybe gone on to school instead,” he said.

Bell added it was not all that hard to get a commitment from so many players to come to town, strap on the blades and hit the ice once again.

“Everyone was willing to come out again and there’s a couple of new players,” said Bell.

He added the players are getting excited about the upcoming game and being able to do something for the community which supported them during their minor hockey careers.

“It was really successful last year and we can pretty much grow off the start of last year and make things bigger and better.”