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U13 hockey tournament hosts collect donations for food bank

The local teams coordinated to address the need they see in their community
Becky Buck as Santa, and Amanda Sparkes as Mrs. Claus during the U13 tournament, Dec. 2 to Dec. 4. (Photo contributed)

The Terrace Minor Hockey Association kicked off its U13 house league tournament between Dec. 2 and Dec. 4, with a charitable addition. The charity came in the form of a food drive, which was donated to the Terrace church’s food bank. Teams arrived from Smithers, Kitimat, and Prince Rupert for the weekend. Prince Rupert took first place, with Smithers coming in second place, and Terrace’s Team Red coming in third.

The weekend was also notable in being the David Dediluke Memorial tournament, which recognizes the passing of Dediluke in 2017. Becky Buck, a mother involved in running the local hockey league on a volunteer basis, said that the food donation came as a response to perceived local need.

“I think it’s something that the parents and the teams and the communities are becoming more aware of,” said Buck. “There’s a greater need for donations to the food back. So lately it’s something that’s becoming more common within the hockey family.”

Though the plan to set up the donation box for this tournament came from Buck, she took inspiration from the representative team’s similar effort the previous week.

It took the coordination and teamwork of many parents to make it happen. “I would just like to add, the division manager, Lesley Pressacco: she goes above and beyond for all the parents and all the kids,” Buck said. “It’s not a paid position, and she has a full time job and two kids. She’s an amazing lady.”

“It’s usually a pretty nice event,” said Pressacco, who was recently appointed to the Terrace Minor Hockey Association’s board of directors. “One of [Dediluke’s] children will come out and do the puck drop. Then at the end of the game, they present the trophy to the winner.”

Amanda Sparkes, who was also recently appointed to the board of directors, is already looking for ways to bring more kids into the hockey program.

“I was wondering what was available for scholarships, bursaries, anything to provide for low income families,” said Sparkes. “It can be a sport that can be very expensive and unrealistic for a lot of families to be able to even start.”

With a master’s degree in social work, Sparkes more than qualified to do the grant application writing and coordination with schools.

She sees outreach to local schools as part of her initiative. “If we are eligible for some scholarships, bursaries, or funding for our community, I would go to elementary schools and try to advertise, and let some of the families know what’s available,” Sparkes said.

“I think that our community right now is facing a mental health crisis, and a lot of communities across B.C. are. This is just one of the ways I feel like we can - and are - trying to gather together.”

Terrace Team Black lined up during their tournament, Dec. 2 to Dec. 4. (Photo contributed)
U13 Minor Hockey players and parents before a game on Friday Dec. 9. Left to right: Cole, Becky Buck, Jerzey, Amanda Sparkes, Liam, Lesley Pressacco, Carley, and Holdyn. (Photo contributed)