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'It's all about the kids'

Tournament in hockey player's memory aids camp

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In the truest sense of the phrase, this is what friends are for.

Jan. 8, 2004 was the worst of days for friends and family of Travis Price, as the 16-year-old St. John's-Ravenscourt student collapsed on the ice during a high school hockey game and could not be revived.

The scene at Niakwa Country Club Monday afternoon, however, was the furthest thing from sombre. Rather, with help of Travis' parents, three of his best friends and graduating classmates organized one of the biggest charity golf tournaments in Winnipeg in celebration of their fallen friend -- the Travis Price Classic.

An instant classic at that, as the tournament, only in its second year of existence, is well on its way to transforming Variety, the Children's Charity's Camp Brereton in Whiteshell Provincial Park.

"One of our favourite qualities about Travis was his spirit of inclusion," said Adam Coates, 23, one of the event's founders. "Everyone was always invited, there was always room for one more, and that's what we're trying to do with the camp. There are a lot of kids in Manitoba that don't get to have camp experiences and it speaks to what Travis was all about and what this tournament is all about."

Last year, with the tournament raising more than $135,000, Camp Brereton was able to install a new all-purpose sports court.

Variety business manager Charlotte Kaysaris was also quick to point out some of the work that can't be seen.

"The money will also hopefully take care of some of the unsexy stuff, too," Kaysaris said. "For example, we're going to update our septic system, our electrical system, we're building a new lodge, things that make the camp run a whole lot better."

The TPC is also doing wonders for the camp's attendance.

"Attendance has gone up," Kaysaris said. "We have the capacity for 70 kids right now. By the end of the five years we hope to be able to have the capacity for more than a hundred. We're blessed to be involved with this tournament."

The old adage it is better to give than to receive must be true, because Travis' father, Gerry Price, could not be happier to have seen a tournament in his son's memory come to fruition.

"This is the best day of my year, without question," Gerry said with a smile. "It's a celebration of Travis' life and the way he operated, which was giving back and taking care of people, maybe people who need a little lift."

But Gerry Price and his son's friends Coates, Taylor Ethans and Connor McGarry, both 24, have given Camp Brereton a new life-support system through the tournament.

"We blew our plan out of the water last year in terms of what we expected to do in the five-year plan," Gerry said. "Instead of doing one year's worth of funding with last year's tournament, we did one-and-a-half year's worth. This year, we're already well ahead of last year. ... It's all about the kids."

"And working with Brereton makes sense," McGarry added. "Travis loved the lake and the outdoors and those experiences were something that really spoke to his personality."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 16, 2011 D6

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