Monday, November 14, 2016

IT'S A BIG WEEKEND!


            I am ever so thankful that I have Remembrance Day and the Dale Blackstock Memorial Hockey Tournament to write about this week so I don’t even have to mention the absolute craziness that is the 2016 American Presidential Election. By the time you read this column the freak show will finally be over and it’s about bloody time.

I don’t know about you but I have saturated my limit of Clinton vs. Trump. I have tried really, really hard not to get sucked into their vortex of hate but it’s impossible. Just like the proverbial train wreck you cannot look away.

            Americans make it sound like it’s a difficult choice but I’m thinking if Trump gets in I’m going to have to convert my concrete cistern into a bomb shelter. Just sayin’.

The very reason that megalomaniac’s like Trump are even allowed to incite hatred and spout their bigotry and ignorance freely is because of the sacrifices of those who served and died to provide his freedom.

Americans honour their fallen on Memorial Day; the last Monday of May. This Friday, at the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month Canadians will gather in “remembrance for the men and women who have served, and continue to serve our country during times of war, conflict and peace". One cannot overstate how important this date is to our country. As the years roll past I hope this date’s importance never fades. Lest we forget.

Speaking of years rolling past I am having a hard time believing that this will be the 30th Dale Blackstock Memorial Hockey tournament. Thirty of them! Wow! I was a member of the Kipling Royals Senior Hockey Club’s executive when we first sponsored this tournament in November of 1987. We were trying to raise $1000.00 for the team’s contribution to the new dressing rooms. We made that and a lot, lot more!

Dale had been a Kipling Royal and a real good friend to many of us on that Executive Board and when Dale succumbed to cancer at the much too young age of 30 we wanted to honour his memory by naming the tournament after him and the rest… as they say…is history.

Over the years many hands were involved in the operation of this tournament and the Blackstock family, led by Linus, put in countless hours to make the event as successful as it has been. It has become a homecoming of sorts for many of the participants and the fond memories of tournaments past are shared and added to annually.

There comes a time, however, when things change. Linus recently mentioned that the tournament has lived as long as Dale had and he thinks it’s time for the family to take a step back from their organizational role. After all, their parents, Melvin and Della are gone now and the spreading family is making the commitment to the event harder with each passing year.

The trophy will always have Dale’s name on it and the family would be more than pleased if the tournament continued on while raising much needed capital for the facility. It just won’t be them leading the charge anymore. My hope is that the Rink Management Committee will continue the tradition.

There are an awful lot of memories, (as well as some lost moments), from those thirty tournaments. Boy, was there a lot of fun provided over the years. I would like to thank Diane, Linus and the entire Blackstock family for their time, effort and commitment to what turned out to be an historical event for the Kipling Arena and the Town of Kipling. Thank you, thank you.

“From Humble Beginnings Come Great Things.”

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