A rodeo event, to raise money for hockey and a home dedicated to the families of sick children. Only in Alberta you say!
That’s exactly what happened back in August as the inaugural Curtis Glencross Invitational Charity Roughstock event took place in Innisfail.
“The Ronald McDonald House Foundation and Hockey Alberta are something that both hit home for us,” said Glencross.
The Calgary Flame forward grew up in the Provost area and played some minor hockey in Red Deer as he made his way to the NHL.
Glencross is the father of two young daughters, one who spent some time in the neonatal intensive care unit of a Calgary hospital when she was born and so the connection with Ronald McDonald House is strong for the family.
In fact, he and his wife Tanya still make the effort to go to the home in Calgary to carve pumpkins around Halloween and take part in other special events.
“Everyone’s either known a family or is related to someone that’s been touched by the house or has had assistance from the house,” he said.
This was the first rodeo event for Glencross as a fundraiser and he was hoping it might haul in about $100,000 but instead he walked into the Red Deer Ronald McDonald House and presented a cheque for $196,000 shared by the House and Hockey Alberta.
“The night before the event was the poker tournament and when we saw how successful that was as the lead in event we were already blown away,” said Larry Mathieson with Ronald McDonald House.
“This house is a special place and it costs a lot of money to build but when you’re done that it still has the running cost of $1.2 million a year,” said Glencross.
Hockey Alberta’s share was $60,000 and Scott Robinson, executive director of the Hockey Alberta Foundation says the money was very much appreciated and will be appropriately used in the Every Kid Every Community program which provides more access to the game for kids in the region.
“The funds are in the right place. They’re going towards getting more kids involved in the game in Central Alberta and there’s lots of kids out there that don’t get the chance to play the game,” he said.
Glencross also tipped his hat towards the main sponsor of the event, PennWest Exploration.
“They’ve been involved in my charity golf tournament in Calgary before and they mentioned anytime I wanted to start another charity event let them know and they jumped on board.”
Support for the event came from all across Alberta in general and more specifically from around the Red Deer region.
“That’s kind of the area where we want to take care of the people that kind of helped us to make this such a successful event,” he said. “We want to really give back and thank those people for doing that.”
Both beneficiaries were ecstatic to receive the financial help and there is a small connection between the two with kids being the common denominator and making their worlds a little bit brighter.
“I think our goal is to make sure the game is a great experience for all kids,” said Robinson.
“Youth hockey is something he (Glencross ) personally supports so it seems like a sort of unlikely marriage but it works,” said Mathieson.