When it comes to mental health awareness, you can always have more.
That’s the idea behind the Play4More hockey tournament.
"We’re promoting ‘more’ as being ‘more understanding, more listening, more kindness’," explained Donna Fabbri, one of the organizers of the tournament, which takes place on the outdoor rink at Bronx Park Community Centre (720 Henderson Hwy.) on Mon., Feb. 17.
Building on the success of last year’s Play4Sven tournament, which was held in memory of Fabbri’s grandson Ben Sveinson, Play4More hopes to connect the community with organizations working with mental health in Manitoba.
"We want to help get the word out," Byron Spriggs, an organizer of the event and friend of Sveinson’s, explained. "We rally around hockey, but we’re trying to bring out some great organizations from within the Winnipeg area."
Last year’s tournament raised over $12,000 for Mood Disorders Manitoba, Canadian Mental Health Association, and True North’s Project 11 through the tournament, donations, silent auction and beer garden sales. Those organizations, which are again benefiting from the event, will be on hand on Feb. 17, with information on the services they provide and how those in need can access them.
Also like last year, a total of 24 teams will compete in three-on-three half-ice games in two tiers: one for recreational players, and one for players who have played elite levels such as AAA, junior, or college. There will be no goalies, teams will ‘play posts.’ Winning teams are awarded $500, which they donate to the organization of their choice.
This year, four local teams of players age 12 to 14 will take to the ice to kick things off.
"Then they can check out the booths and when the day gets going, with the competitive players going out — former pros, collegiate athletes, former junior and Western Hockey League players — they can watch them play, and see the support from within the hockey community for an event like this, for mental health awareness," said Spriggs, who played junior hockey for the Winnipeg Blues. "It ingrains those roots at a young age."
A memory wall will also be featured inside at this year’s event.
"People can bring pictures of someone who has passed away or left them, or somebody that they’re helping. Or you can write a positive message," Fabbri said. "We’re also giving the older skaters T-shirts that say ‘Play 4’ with a white space that they can write who or what they’re playing for."
Winnipeg Jets and Manitoba Moose mascot Mick E. Moose and the Winnipeg Ice’s Shivers will also be on hand to interact with the kids, while a number of indoor and outdoor games and activities are planned throughout the day.
"We want it to be community friendly, so people who aren’t playing just come and check it out and watch some great hockey," Spriggs said. "We want it to be as fun as possible for people who aren’t playing."
For more information, to donate, or to register a team, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Community journalist — The Herald
Sheldon Birnie is the community journalist for The Herald Email him at email@example.com Call him at 204-697-7112
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