Wild Rose Hockey Challenge goes all out on offence
Politicians of all stripes partnered with NHL and junior hockey players for the Wild Rose Hockey Challenge on Aug. 18 at Alex Kaleta Arena in Canmore.
“This is an important charity for me, especially since I’ve worked to make changes to the justice system aimed at keeping victims first and foremost,” said event host and MP Blake Richards.
Richards introduced a private members bill last October making it an offence to conceal one’s identity with a mask during a riot.
He also pushed for changes to the national pardon system. He’s raised $200,000 from his hockey challenges, which draws politicians from across the country.
The money goes to victim services societies in the Bow Valley, Airdrie, Cochrane and Chinook Arch.
“It means the world to see people come from all over and play a game of hockey for a good cause,” Richards said.
The game ended with a 16-15 shootout win for Team Alberta, as the home team pumped two quick shots past Peterborough MP Dean Del Mastro for the win.
On the other hand, former Canmore councillor Ed Russell stood tall in the win. Richards potted a few goals himself playing with retired NHL player Sheldon Kennedy and Canmore junior A Eagle Luke Philp.
Kennedy is an outspoken proponent of the Victim’s Services Association.
He shook the hockey world when he spoke out against the abuse he suffered at the hands of his former junior hockey coach Graham James and later roller bladed across Canada to raise money for victims of sexual abuse.
He spoke at a victim services national conference last year in Banff and has participated in the Wild Rose Hockey Challenge for the past four years.
“Victim services provide crucial services to the area. I’d like to raise awareness and keep it going, because a lot of these services are run by volunteers,” Kennedy said.
“A lot of the time they’re forgotten for the work they do and people don’t appreciate them until they need them.”
Richards said there will be at least one more hockey challenge.
“We’re going to give it one more shot,” Richards said.