by Stephen Dafoe
Twenty-eight years after Novice hockey player Dennis Blair Borduzak passed away, his memory is kept alive through a memorial tournament now in its 20th year. The annual 4 the Love of the Game Tournament will take place in Morinville and Legal Jan. 12 to 15 and will bring together more than 300 players and 35 teams for a full weekend of hockey action.
Teams from as far away as Fort McMurray and Mayerthorpe will take to the ice to pay homage to the game and the young man who loved it so.
Borduzak passed away following his Novice year of hockey in 1989. The name of the tournament pays homage to the late hockey player’s number 4 jersey, which was retired in Legal in 2004.
The novice player is remembered for his bright eyes, smile and his enthusiasm for the game, as well as his understanding that the only way to achieve a common goal was through working together.
The tournament includes a total of 40 games. Each team plays three round-robin games plus a final game.
Cory Roy, Sturgeon Hockey Club (SHC) Novice Director said the planning committee has been working extra hard to make this tournament one of the best SHC has hosted.
“4 the Love of The Game Memorial reminds us of the real meaning of community, and the joy of sport,” Roy said. “The tragic loss of Dennis is heart wrenching, a pain that no family should have to endure, a family that most of us in the community are connected to. We want to honour Dennis and his love of the game; his legacy lives on through the joy and found memories that thousands of participants and their families have experienced and will continue to experience for years to come. It is important for us at Sturgeon Hockey to pass the torch from year to year and preserve the essence and history of this event.”
Roy said the upcoming tournament would exceed expectations for players and spectators with a light show, fog, music, and player introductions before games on Saturday and Sunday in both Morinville and Legal rinks. There will be ceremonial puck drop Saturday in Morinville and Legal.
The event will include a Family Fun Zone and Hockey Carnival at the Rendez-Vous Centre on the Saturday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Roy said additional activities include a silent auction, raffle, Buck-a-Shot game and free hot dogs for all the players.
The Borduzak family will be in attendance.
“The main focus for us is the mark of the 20th anniversary and ensuring we recognize the history and meaning of the tournament,” Roy said. “We are very excited to see it all come together, and we feel our 300 plus players and their families are going to remember this one.”