By Morinville News Staff
Morinville – Twenty-four years after Novice hockey player Dennis Blair Borduzak passed away, his memory is kept alive through a memorial tournament now in its 16th year. The annual 4 the Love of the Game Tournament will take place in Morinville and Legal Mar. 21-24 and will bring together 18 teams for a full weekend of hockey action.
The name of the tournament pays homage to the late hockey player’s number 4 jersey, which was retired in Legal in 2004.
Tournament Coordinator Lara Thompson is anticipating a series of games that has come to embody Borduzak’s memory and the tradition the tournament has formed over the past decade and a half.
“We hope that people from all over the community will come out to watch some of the games, buy raffle and 50/50 tickets, and enjoy the spirit of the tournament – fun and sportsmanship,” she said. “It would be great if we could fill the stands, especially for the finals on Sunday, to show the kids all of our support.”
This year the tournament will host 18 teams split into three divisions. The teams will be coming from Calgary, Calmar, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Gibbons, Grande Prairie, Legal, Morinville, Slave Lake, Spruce Grove, and Wabamun. Thompson said four Sturgeon Hockey Club Novice teams made up of 49 local players will participate.
The divisions will battle it out Mar. 21 to 23. Final tournament games will be played Mar. 24.
“This tournament is highly anticipated by our local players, and ends the hockey season on a special note for all who participate,” Thompson said. “The kids who are hosting this tournament are proud to show off their town to the visiting teams, and they’re excited to have their family and friends watch them play hockey. The sense of community they develop from participating in an event like this will stay with them for years to come.”
One hockey player excited for the tournament is Sturgeon Hockey Club Novice B backstop Julian Thompson. “I really like being the home team and having everyone cheering for us,” he said of participating in the upcoming games.”
Raising spirits and raising funds
Thompson said the memorial tournament is a fundraising opportunity for the association and is also a great way to showcase Morinville and Legal. “Our association supports young hockey players between the ages of 5 and 17 from Morinville, Legal, and surrounding areas,” Thompson explained. “Funds raised at this event provide them with more opportunities to participate in our national pastime by helping to offer additional ice time, enhance player and coach development, and keep the program affordable in general.”
Association president Eric Cyr agrees. “Each year this tournament has been an important contributor to our minor hockey association and the local community,” he said.
Admission to the four days of Novice hockey action is free; however, attendees will be able to contribute through a raffle table, 50/50 draws and Plinko games. “Our raffle table boasts over 50 prizes donated by local businesses, with more coming in every day,” said Tournament Raffle Coordinator Angela Langley.” There’s something for everyone – including a hockey stick from the Edmonton Oilers, signed by the entire team.”
Games will commence Mar. 21 in Morinville and Legal and play throughout the weekend. Everyone is welcome to attend.