Saturday , 12 June 2021
Lakeland Panthers peewee team faces off against Fort McMurray during last year's Winterland action at the RJ Lalonde.

RMHCNA Winterland Invitational going remote this winter

The Winterland Invitational hockey tournament is working differently in February.

Ronald McDonald House Charities Northern Alberta’s annual fundraising event during Family Day weekend will be held remotely next year as event organizers admit referring to the approach as “going virtual” isn’t exactly accurate.

“We’re trying to stay away from the term virtual because it’s nothing online,” explained Oreen Skiba, stakeholder manager relations for RMHCNA. “What we’re doing is asking teams across the province during their regular scheduled games to make it benefitting Ronald McDonald House.”

In the Lakeland, the event is normally hosted in communities such as Bonnyville, Glendon, and Elk Point, providing each community with busy hotels during February, but AHS regulations prompted the decision to change this year’s tournmanet.

However, in doing so, the event is more open to whoever wants to participate.

“In the past, we would only be able to keep it open to two divisions because that’s all we had space for,” said Skiba. “Now because we’re not hosting it at any particular locations we don’t have to worry about those kinds of restrictions, and anyone can participate whether they’re U7, U9, U11.

“Everyone is welcome.”

Besides the change in structure, the Winterland has also expanded to include curling in addition to hockey, and will be held across Alberta for the first time in its history.

According to the Invitational’s official webpage, the event will be held from February 5th to the 28th, and any teams are encouraged to register by January 8th in order to receive a team package in time.

The package will include a pair of red and white striped socks, a Heart & Hustle Award, fundraising tips and toolkit, a branded puck or flag, and a sponsorship poster.

Additionally, there will be prizes awarded to both the top hockey and curling team, including a $500 gift certificate to McDonald’s for a team dinner, and a prize awarded to the top adult and youth fundraiser.

Registration is now open for anyone wishing to participate.

About Chris Lapointe

Chris is a two-time Vancouver Film School graduate, where he originally studied screenwriting and video games. Returning home to the lakeland post-graduation, he was determined to put what he learned to use. He brings with him a laid-back attitude and a love for pop culture that he hopes can be injected into Lakeland Connect's publications.