A mix of hockey stars and local road hockey players will descend on the Boardwalk in Waterloo on August 12 for a fundraiser to improve the quality of care for cancer patients at Grand River Hospital.
Back for its second year, the Scotland’s Yard Road Hockey Classic will raise money for Waterloo Wellington’s first positron emission tomography (PET) computed tomography (CT) scanner. Without this equipment, many cancer patients have to travel elsewhere, such as Hamilton or Mississauga, to receive scans, said Ashley Howat, chief giving officer at the Grand River Hospital Foundation.
“It just gets expensive for families. A lot of the times when you’re doing that, especially with a child who’s going through that treatment, one parent, at least, is putting a job on hold in order to make sure that they can make all appointments, that treatments are being received and they’re caring for their sick child,” Howat said.
To date, the foundation has raised $2.5 million of the $7 million price tag for the scanner. Named for Scottie, the daughter of local couple Brian Santos and Joy Stewart, who was diagnosed with cancer at just three months old, Scotland’s Yard aims to raise $50 million for the foundation over a 10-year period. Scottie, who will turn 4 soon, is now considered a cancer survivor, Howat said.
Led in part by foundation board member Jacqueline and Ben Chariot – a Detroit Red Wings defenseman – the August 12 tournament will see around 10 current and former NHL players participate. Professional women’s players Loren Gabel and 2014 Olympic gold medalist Laura Fortino will also be in attendance.
“Part of the fact that they get to play with the kids is what really makes it for them, and that’s what all of them said last year: it was the kids that made it and they had fun. So, most of them from last year have come back and now we have more, including a women’s gold medal winner, because for all of the teams that have females on them they’re playing with their idols,” Howat said.
The tournament will go from 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Registration for teams of six players plus a goalie is $600, and $50 for each additional player. Each team is guaranteed to play at least three games. The top youth fundraising will win an autograph session and a professional photo shoot with the NHL and women’s players. The top adult fundraising team will receive four tickets to a Red Wings home game.
A silent auction that includes items such as a signed Sidney Crosby jersey and a puck signed by Leafs captain John Tavares will run from July 22 until 11:59 p.m. on August 13.
The inaugural event raised a net total of $315,000. This year, the foundation has aimed higher.
“Our goal is basically to beat last year however we can, just because [the PET CT] really is such a big chunk. And the nice thing about it is that a lot of people contribute to that so there’s a feeling of success for everyone,” Howat said.
The foundation will also be looking to fill around 100 spots for volunteers. More information on the tournament and how to register can be found at www.grhf.ca.