May 25th, 2024

Challenge accepted for food bank hockey benefit

By Lethbridge Herald on December 16, 2021.

Herald photo by Dale Woodard Lethbridge mayor Blaine Hyggen holds up $20 that was donated at the announcement of the Community Hockey Challenge Thursday morning at the ATB Centre. The donation was made as the press conference was taking place. The Community Hockey Challenge benefitting various local food banks will take place Saturday at 11 a.m. at ATB Centre.

Dale Woodard – Lethbridge Herald –

The Mayor’s Community Hockey Challenge has been laid down.

In fact, Lethbridge mayor Blaine Hyggen had barely announced it when the challenge was accepted.

Hyggen, alongside Lethbridge Sport Council executive director Susan Eymann, met up at the ATB Centre Thursday morning to announce Saturday’s Mayor’s Community Hockey Challenge, a hockey game featuring a veritable who’s-who in Lethbridge which will benefit the Lethbridge Soup Kitchen, Interfaith Food Bank, Lethbridge Food Bank, the University of Lethbridge Students’ Union Food Bank and the Lethbridge College Students’ Association Food Bank.

As Eymann fielded some questions from the media, a curious passer-by asked Hyggen what was happening with the assembled cameras. After learning what was going on, the passer-by handed the mayor a crisp $20 bill to go toward the cause.

Challenge accepted.

“Just before leaving here I had a fellow from the Lethbridge Oldtimers Sports Association ask what we’re doing and already made a donation to food banks” said Hyggen. “Wow. It’s started already. This is one of our senior groups that plays here a couple days a week (with) the Lethbridge Oldtimers Sports Association. This is community.”

The game will feature a team of community partners, including Lethbridge Hurricanes alumni goaltender Logan Koopmans and Exhibition Park’s Mike Wuchterl – a 2007 Memorial Cup champion – taking on a City of Lethbridge roster with players and coaches across a variety of departments.

Full equipment is required, but the game will be a fun-themed, non-contact, full three-period game.

City Councillor Mark Campbell and Susan Gouw with the City of Lethbridge will be the guest referees, while CJOC morning show host Jordan Karst will be the in-game host and Liam Nixon, newsroom manager for Global Lethbridge, will handle public address announcing.

Representing the Lethbridge Herald will be publisher Brian Hancock.

Non perishable food items can be brought in and cash donations will be accepted as well.

Winter clothing will also be accepted.

“There is the need for everything, from clothing to food to gifts for children out there who may not get these gifts in this holiday season,” said Hyggen. “It’s open to anything. We talk about non-perishable food items, but anything that can be brought out is extremely important. We’re looking at getting everybody together, coming together as a community – something we haven’t been able to do for quite some time – and have a fun time.”

The program will have a QR code for cash donations, said Hyggen.

“We’ve been told numerous times that with a cash donation, they can stretch that money and really put it where it needs to be put most. So these organizations have also asked for cash donations, if that’s possible. If not, a non-perishable food item (will be accepted) and we’d love to have everybody out.”

Monetary donations will be accepted via

The Lethbridge Sport Council was involved in the event five years ago when it was held at Nicholas Sheran Arena.

“We had a great time,” said Eymann. “At this time of year it’s a wonderful opportunity to help give back to the community. Lethbridge is a sport community and we are supported so much by everyone. So when we were asked to see if we could rally up some of our members to be a part of this event it was simple to say ‘yes.’ We put the call out and we got responses within hours. Everyone was eager to be involved.”

The intermission entertainment, organized by the Lethbridge Sport Council, will feature a Lethbridge Minor Hockey Timbits game, an AHS-Lethbridge Community Therapeutic Recreation sledge hockey demonstration, a Lethbridge Speed Skating Association demonstration, a Lethbridge Ringette Association shootout against Mayor Hyggen and a Lethbridge Skating Club soloist and a Southern Alberta Skating Academy group routine.

“The Brier is coming, so the Curling Club is involved,” said Eymann. “They’ll have their Rocks In Ring upstairs that people can go try out and talk to the club about. Alberta Health Services Community Rehabilitation is looking to work with us to get sledge hockey going in the community. It hasn’t been active for about three or four years. So they’re bringing out 10 sleds and asking people who are coming, maybe some of the players, to see what it’s like to stay on two blades that are close together.”

The Lethbridge and Area Recreation Hockey Association will offer general bench support throughout the game.

The mayor also spoke to have a fun community event that brings the public out after a trying 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’ve all had the COVID mind and we’ve all been hunkered down for a lot of this for almost two years,” said Hyggen. “When we first contacted the community partners and also the City team and said we’re looking at having this, the response was incredible, and not just from the players from these different stakeholder groups. It’s going to be a super-exciting event and just turn our minds to something other than COVID. It’s going to be a great time and people are really excited to come out and we’re happy to be here with the beneficiaries being the food banks during this tough season.”

The good vibes aside, the smack talk has already started with the mayor a target.

“I had a little boy come running over, his dad must have sent him over, and he said ‘My dad said he’s going to score a lot of goals on you,’” said Hyggen. “To this day, I don’t know who this was. He ran off after he told me this.”

Ideally, there will be no game day scratches on either side when the puck drops Saturday.

“It’s going to be a tough game and we want to make sure everybody is doing their stretches,” said Hyggen. “We’ve already heard that a couple members are out with one upper body injury and one lower body injury and I think that just comes from stretching, believe it or not. Make sure you’re prepared for this game.”

Entry requirements to the ATB Centre will fall under the Alberta Health Services Restrictions Exemption Program.

Follow @DWoodardHerald on Twitter

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pursuit diver

This is a great fundraiser that many can enjoy at a time when we are all trying to deal with the stresses of COVID restrictions and for some Christmas time that often brings added stress, a time to enjoy some fun activities, that will bring many smiles to those through the donations, that have little.
Great to see the Mayor out there, along with a lot of other dedicated people!