It’s amazing what a simple golf tournament can do for so many groups which need help.
The 12th Young Guns tourney out at Alberta Springs managed to rake in over $100,000 which was quickly shared by more than a dozen organizations around the region.
“All the money raised stays here in Central Alberta,” said Kevin Watson, chairperson of the event which has topped the $1 million mark since the tournament began with Ryan Smith as the local hockey player involved.
A couple of years later local products Trent Hunter and Jim Vandermeer took over as the faces of the event.
Now the torch has been passed to Kris and Ryan Russell, Matt Fraser, Colton Sceviour, Brandon Sutter and Paul Postma, all local hockey players who are willing to give back.
“We just asked and they said, ‘Yes’,” said Watson. “I think they’ve kind of grown up in the community and saw other NHL’ers before them do their part and they’ve just followed right in line.”
The players bring their signed jerseys to be auctioned off and Fraser and Sceviour also pieced together a single stall of a locker room in their spare time which went into the silent auction.
The selection of the deserving charities is left up to a board and donations this year range from $1,000 for the Sylvan Lake Incline Skate Park to $15,000 for Loaves and Fishes and the Hospice Society.
“We have a stipulation that they don’t use the money for operating costs. We want it for new programs or existing programs,” said Watson.
Sylvan Lake minor hockey was one of the groups which left with a cheque, this one for $10,000 and spokesperson Blair Mack says it will be used to help keep registration fees down and allow more kids to play hockey.
“It’s pennies from heaven. We do a lot of budgeting and a lot of fundraising and it involves a lot of hard work and all we really had to do with this is show up and reap the rewards of a lot of other people’s hard work.”
The 13th Young Guns tournament will follow basically the same template as years past with new groups knocking on the door looking for some help and Watson says it’s a formula which works well.
“Our sponsors continue to be great. There are some that have been with us since day one and obviously without them you can’t do it,” he said. “So if it’s not broke don’t fix it I guess.”