An annual fundraiser and major youth hockey tournament in the Lakeland has been shelved for the time being, however, residents province-wide are being asked to take part in a winter activity for the cause.
The Winterland Invitational was looking to host their 4th annual tournament this Family Day weekend, which saw 36 teams from across Alberta descend to Bonnyville, Elk Point, and Glendon for a weekend of games in support of the Ronald McDonald House Charities in 2020.
Now, the initiative has changed. Throughout the month of March, families are encouraged to participate by skating on the outdoor rink, hitting the slopes, or coming out of the hack.
Oreen Skiba, stakeholder manager relations for RMHC, said the Ronald McDonald House is currently at full capacity.
“One change that doesn’t happen is people are still needing the Ronald McDonald Houses,” said Skiba.
“Families are still travelling to the city to see specialists and to get treatment for their seriously ill children, so these fundraisers are so important to us. This would have been our fourth year with our annual hockey tournament. Unfortunately, that can’t happen. So we’re asking families to participate in any sort of winter sport for the month of March on behalf of the Ronald McDonald House.”
In the past two years, families from the Lakeland area have stayed over 1400 nights at the Ronald McDonald House, Skiba said.
Other initiatives, like the Hero from Home campaign, gives restaurant or hotel vouchers for families who can’t stay at the house.
For this revamped, COVID-friendly Winterland Invitational, over a thousand dollars in prizes will be given for the top three fundraisers, including a PlayStation 5.
The Town of Bonnyville has continued with $8000 “ambassador” sponsorship for the tournament after Skiba updated town council about the current fundraising plan at Tuesday’s regular meeting. The M.D. of Bonnyville and Town of Elk Point have also agreed to sponsor.
“The town is still undertaking its support. But the events are going to be more of a month-long, they’re going to be more focused on family, and activities in the outdoors, and basically the promotion of trying to uplift spirits and still continue with the themes that they were working on,” said Mayor Gene Sobolewski on The Morning After.
When participants register, you will receive a red and white striped scarf, and after raising more than $100 you’ll get a matching pair of mitts.
It’s $25 to register for youth and $35 for adults.
In the meantime, organizers are hopeful that in 2022, the Winterland Invitational can expand into more communities and more teams register.
“This was supposed to be our fourth annual and we’re really excited to move into Cold Lake and increase the number of teams we could accept. So as soon as we’re able to go back to hockey, that is our hope that for right now.”
You can register or donate on Ronald McDonald House Alberta’s website.