Lovable Losers continue the tradition
BRACEBRIDGE - The Lovable Losers Hockey Tournament took place March 8 to 10 at the Bracebridge Memorial Arena, drawing 12 men’s and four women’s teams for their 28th annual tournament. While many of the teams are made up of local players, the competition, with an emphasis on fun, draws returning teams from as far as Burlington and Bent River as well.
The tournament was a great success, said tournament co-chair and Rink Rat team member Gord Dawes. Not only did players have fun, the tournament raised money for both the Muskoka Children’s Foundation and local up-an-coming sledge star Christian Hauck.
The Rink Rats team, who host the tournament each year, have taken a special interest in Christian, 7, who was born with cerebral palsy-spastic diplegia and must use a wheelchair to move around. Last year, proceeds from their annual hockey tournament bought Christian’s sledge, enabling him to play hockey. This year the money will go towards continued renovations in the basement level of his home to make it wheelchair accessible.
Christian’s parents, Jessica and Al Hauck, thanked the Rink Rats for their continued support in a written letter, included in the tournament program. It reads in part: “Christian continues to be a happy and grateful little boy. Despite what he has to go through every day and his difficulty with pain, his happiness and constant smiles and genuine concern for everyone other than himself is an inspiration to all who meet him. The Rink Rats have opened a door that changed his life and sparked a love for hockey that grows every day. Thank you Rink Rats… for giving our son the gift of independence and the courage to do what he loves most, being out on the ice in his sledge playing hockey.”
Trophy winners from the tournament, where losers receive bigger trophies than the winners, according to Dawes, are as follows. The Lowcock Playfair Award went to Bracebridge Straight Shooters; First Men`s Consolation Winners: Rink Rats; Women`s Lovable Losers Losingest Losers Losers: Ecclestone Cycle Kona Lisa; Women`s Lovable Losers Losingest Losers Winners: Muskoka Lynx; True North Log Homes Final Winners: Hospital; Second Men`s Consolation Winners: Tuesday Ten Stars; Women`s Lovable Losers Losers Champion Winners: Seguin Sows; Gagnon`s YIG Final Winners: Ice Bandits; Men`s Lovable Losers Losingest Losers Winners: Bent River Blues; Men`s Lovable Losers Losingest Losers Losers: Burlington Kings; Harvey`s/Swiss Chalet Final Winners: Casey Cain Construction.
The women’s most sportsmanlike player award went to Tina Jacobson of the Sequin Sows, while the men’s most sportsmanlike player of the tournament was Ryan Boyes of the Ice Bandits.
Also included annually as part of the tournament is a Home Depot Puck Shoot, which took place on Saturday. Pucks that make it through one of the two side slots in the board set up in front of the net earn the shooter a $25 Home Depot gift cards, while a puck through the centre slot is worth a $100 card. Tanya Lowrie, assistant manager of Home Depot, was on hand to provide the cards.
Young sledge hockey star Christian Hauck started the puck shoot off with 10 pucks at his disposal. Home Depot donated $20 per puck for Christian if he hit the board and the Rink Rats matched that donation. Christian succeeded in earning his full $400 prize.
Of the next 32 shooters, two chosen per team, Tina Jacobson (Seguin Sows), PJ Lebert (If-N-Wenz), Jennine Mitchell (Ecclestone Cycle Kona Lisa) and Rob Field (Burlington Kings) put pucks through side holes, to each win a $25 Home Depot Gift Card.
“The Rink Rats Hockey Club wish to thank our sponsors, team players and fellow hockey fans for their continued support of our tournament,” said Dawes, who also added a special thanks to Tony Armstrong of Back Country Paint Ball for his $100 donation to the Children’s Foundation of Muskoka, raised through his paintball shooting gallery held during the tournament.