MULGRAVE: It was the end of an era for a pond hockey tournament that kept a young man’s memory alive while helping to ensure other young people got a leg up in terms of hitting the books.
“It went very well over the years, but all good things must come to an end,” said Bob MacDonald, speaking of the tenth and final Luke MacDonald Pond Hockey Tournament. The event is held in memory of Bob’s son, who died at the age of 16 in 2010.
“At times it was emotional, and other times it was very satisfying. The quad counties opened their arms to us and really came through.”
The tenth annual installment of the tourney took place on February 8.
The event was originally planned for Morrison’s Lake in Mulgrave, but with a forecast predicting nasty weather, the pond hockey event became a ball hockey tournament at the Mulgrave Memorial Centre gym.
The change in venue did little to hurt attendance, as over 80 players took part and hundreds of fans came out. Complementing the ball hockey was an auction and dance at the Mulgrave Fire Hall, with proceeds from the day’s activities going toward bursaries handed out to kids in the local area.
MacDonald said this year’s fundraising was exceptional.
“We made just a bit over $33,000 this year, and our 10 year total is just over $162,000,” he said.
“It was well-received over the years, and I want to thank the people who’ve been attending for so long, as well as the people on the committee who helped me. Some memorials hang on too long, and we wanted to go out on a high note.”
The final game featured Bobby and the Pacemakers facing off against Gonzo and the Greats. Gonzo’s crew ended up with the gold medals.
“Let me tell you, Bobby was almost ready for a pacemaker the next day,” MacDonaldsaid of his participation in that final game. “I’m hoping those young guys will be running around a ball hockey court when they’re 59.
“There were some tears shed at the dance by a number of people,” he continued. “For those who were in the same classes Luke was, it was a reunion for them. There were a lot of stories. Many times, his classmates would come up to me and say, ‘did I ever tell you the time when he did…’
“Those were nice things, and I can’t thank everybody enough for coming out.”