Many a sportsman has took to the streets with a net and some sticks. Few, however, have channeled this energy into a charitable initiative. When the Maryhill Ball Hockey Tournament returns next weekend for its fifth year, recall that this durable neighbourhood institution sprang from the weekend games of two hockey-crazed teens.
“Both my boys were down at the Maryhill Park all the time,” remembered Karen Kron of her sons, Brian and Brent (now 24 and 22). “They thought, Well, let’s just have a tournament, and we can give back to the community or other charities that require some help.”
“The idea was just to get together with a couple of friends, and it just got bigger and bigger,” added Brent Kron.
For its first two years, the event raised money for the Maryhill community centre then in the works, and for the next two, for a Maryhill family caring for two autistic boys. This year’s event (which Brian and Brent are organizing with sister Brittany) will collect funds for the KW Bell Cartage Outlaws fastball team, where Brent and Brian have played for 10 years.
The team is in urgent need of donations because the team will be one of the hosts of the 2014 International Softball Congress World Tournament.
“They’ve been on that team for a long time, and my husband has played with some of those guys throughout his fastball career, said Karen Kron. “With the worlds being in town this year, it’s just more and more money that the boys need to bring to the table. Things just keep getting more expensive – you need uniforms, you need bags, you need balls.”
This year, the 13 teams of six have already been filled, with the age of players ranging from 14 to 49. However, the organizers stress that the barbecue and bake sale make it more than a sports event.
“Come out to support your community and your neighbours. It’s not just ball hockey – it’s a nice time to get out and hopefully see some friendly faces after a winter of staying inside,” said Karen Kron.
“Every year is just an awesome year,” said Brent Kron. “Every year we prepare for it, going down to the rink and shooting balls, and just getting together with friends is a good time.”
He added, “You get a couple of the older ladies around here, and they cook a mean spread!”
The event takes place May 2-4 at Maryhill Heritage Community Park.