Rob Tétrault is looking forward to Le Classique as much as ever this year.
The Canadian CMV Foundation will hold the sixth annual instalment of Le Classique, which is presented by MLT Aikins, on Fri., Feb. 9 and Sat., Feb 10 at the Festival du Voyageur grounds at Whittier Park.
The event, which has been billed as Western Canada’s largest winter outdoor 3-on-3 ball hockey tournament, is the foundation’s largest fundraiser. St. Boniface resident Tétrault founded the national non-profit organization several years ago to help raise funds and awareness to eradicate congenital cytomegalovirus (CMV), which his son was born with.
According to a news release, CMV is a debilitating congenital birth defect that can cause serious disease in babies who were infected with it before birth. About one in 150 children is born with the condition, which can cause a wide range of neurodevelopmental disabilities in babies.
Since the inception of Le Classique six years ago, the tournament has grown to include an ever-increasing number of teams, divisions, and activities. This year, there will be five divisions, as well as a social in a heated tent on the Friday night, and plenty of free children’s activities on the Saturday, which is dubbed Family Fun Day.
These activities include a ball hockey game for kids aged 12 and under at noon; and performances by Mr. Circus at 1 p.m.; Madame Diva at 2 p.m.; and the Juno Award-winning Al Simmons at 3 p.m. As well, there will be large inflatable bouncers.
"We want to replicate the successful formula of last year and stick with what works, but we’re also trying for more events and entertainers for kids on the Saturday for more of a family twist," said Tétrault, who works tirelessly in the run-up to the event to ensure its success.
"This is all we do around this time of year because this event means a lot to us."
Tétrault said that 2017 was a banner year for the foundation, as it made several "leaps forward."
"We crossed the $250,000 mark for our endowment fund, we hosted our first national CMV summit in May in Ottawa that was attended by 14 or 15 doctors and researchers who came to Canada, and we met with the Minister of Health in the province and helped change protocol for CMV screening in the province. Our end goal is to get universal screening for it," he said.
Humbled by the growth and evolution of Le Classique in the hearts and minds of the community, Tétrault is humbled any time the spotlight is turned on him.
"I guess I’m the guy at the heart of this, and people often tell me how amazing this is, but I like to put my head down and get things done. I’ve always been one to set myself goals. When I look at how the event has evolved, I’m humbled."
Tétrault co-founded the event with Marc Foidart in 2012, and for the first three years it was held in the parking lot of Le Garage Café on Provencher Boulevard.
Team registration ends at 5 p.m. on Feb. 6. Go online at leclassique.ca to register, or for more information. Visit cmvcanada.com to learn more about CMV.
Community journalist — The Lance
Simon Fuller is the community journalist for The Lance. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org Call him at 204-697-7111