More than 800 people turned up at the Stettler Recreation Centre on Sat., Sept. 13 in support of the community’s minor hockey program.
The evening’s centerpiece was a WHL exhibition game in which the Medicine Hat Tigers shut out the Red Deer Rebels 4-0, but the fundraiser also featured a tailgate barbecue, a silent auction, draws for prizes and a shootout on the ice.
“This is our biggest fundraiser of the year,” said Stettler Minor Hockey Association (SMHA) president Jason Hegberg. “We try to do a bang-up job on it.”
Based on the crowds that filled the stands, Hegberg said this may have been the best year yet for the fundraiser, an annual tradition.
He estimated that the event raised between $10,000 and $15,000, adding that organizers believe to have reached the “high end” of that range this year.
Saturday’s game saw both teams off to an even start, with Red Deer taking an early lead in shots on net. Both sides were shut out in the first period, but Medicine Hat quickly moved ahead in the second, with goals by David Quenneville and Markus Eisenschmid.
The Tigers extended their lead in the final period, adding goals by Mason Shaw and Matthew Bradley, holding the Rebels scoreless to finish with a 4-0 tally.
Hegberg said the evening was designed to “recreate” the experience of a WHL game, with draws for prizes, the beer gardens and other attractions between the periods.
The fundraiser topped off an exciting weekend for SMHA, following an appreciation night for the association’s managers, coaches and sponsors on Friday.
Players Rhett Shingoose and Brett Coleman were on hand to drop the puck at the start of the game. Following the first period, several awards were also presented on the ice.
Hegberg presented the Brett O’Malley Award — given to the SMHA’s most valuable peewee player — to Rhett Shingoose. He also presented the Ross Wigley Memorial Award, for the most dedicated midget player, to Jordan McCallum.
Taylor Chase received the Stephen Wright Memorial Award, presented to the top Level 2 minor hockey official, from Doug Baltimore.
An award was presented in honour of Andrew Nibourg, who died in June, by his father James and brother Isaac. The award, presented to the top Level 1 minor hockey official, was given to Clayton -Niehaus.
Hockey Alberta named the SMHA its Minor Hockey Association of the Year at its annual conference in June. Tryouts for SMHA’s coming season began Tuesday, Sept. 16.