The second annual Dirty Birds Charity Hockey Tournament raised a total of $100,212.12 in support of the Neurosurgery Kids Fund this weekend.
“Once again the dirty birds came through in a big way,” Oilers TV Host Tom Gazzola said. “It’s unbelievable to see the group managed to raise over $100,000. And to be a part of something special like this that benefits children being treated at the Stollery is an honour.”
Gazzola and edmontonoilers.com’s head writer Chris Wescott participated in the tournament on Saturday along with local media personalities Dustin Nielson (TSN1260), Ryan Jespersen (Breakfast TV) and Min Dhariwal (CBC). The purpose of the event is to raise funds and awareness for the Neurosurgery Kids Fund at the Stollery Children’s Hospital in Edmonton.
“The Dirty Birds put together a first-class event and it shows with just how much money they were able to raise,” Wescott said. “It was an amazing weekend to come together with a group of great people in support of a worthy cause and to meet some of those kids was very special.”
Chris Branco, a member of the Dirty Birds men’s league team and a lead organizer of the tournament was filled with emotions following the event.
“To go from a goal of $15,000 in our first year and raising $68,000, to breaking $100,000 in our second year is truly a dream come true,” Branco said. “It is a small four-team tournament with many big hearts. This moment makes it worth the battle of three games in four hours and four games in a day. These kids battle their entire life and if you asked me to do it all over again I would say, “When is puck drop?”
The two day event includes a silent auction and hockey tournament to raise awareness and funds for the Neurosurgery Kids Fund at the Stollery Children’s Hospital. In the first year of existence, this tournament helped raise $68,000 which was then matched by CN Miracle for a total of around $140,000. The goal was $15,000.
“What started as an idea has grown into an amazing life experience,” said Chris Branco, one of the founders of the event. “Never did I think that my love for hockey would introduce me to an inspiring group of kids from the The Neurosurgery Kids Fund, who I now call my friends.”
Oilers TV’s Tom Gazzola and edmontonoilers.com’s Chris Wescott will be playing in the tournament along with local media celebrities Dustin Nielson from TSN 1260, Ryan Jespersen from Breakfast TV and Min Dhariwal from CBC.
“We did this last year and it was fantastic,” Gazzola said. “Chris and his group did such an outstanding job organizing this that myself and the other media guys were quick to jump onboard again this year.”
The silent auction will take place on Friday at Average Joes Sports Bar in Sherwood Park (390 Baseline Road) at 7 p.m. The ’12 hours of hockey’ tournament will take place from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday at Argyll Arena (9933 63 Ave NW).
“I want to thank every player, volunteer and donor for your generosity,” Branco said. “Because of you, one step at a time, change will come. To the parents and family members of The Neurosurgery Kids Fund who have allowed me and my teammates into your families, we can't thank you enough. Our goal last year was to raise some money and bring awareness to a group of everyday people trying to make the lives of those affected by brain or spinal surgeries just a little bit easier. We succeeded… Thank you.”
Over $57,000 has already been raised for this year’s event, prior to the silent auction.
To buy a ticket to attend, contact Chris Branco at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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Mark Fraser on Oilers Now
Take a look below at a random assortment of Mark Fraser hits and fights from the past year.
Mark Fraser will wear number five for the Oilers, he confirmed in an interview with edmontonoilers.com's Chris Wescott.
Fraser also talked about changing Canadian markets.
Fraser will wear #5 for the #Oilers. He credits Dallas Eakins for rejuvenating his career when he came to the Marlies in 2011-12.— Edmonton Oilers (@EdmontonOilers) January 31, 2014
"I'm happy to get to play for another organization with extremely passionate fans. I'm very excited."
The big defenceman also talked about his style of play and how he might fit in with the Oilers.
"I'm confident I can provide something the Oilers may be missing... Most of my success comes from my size and aggression."
Mark Fraser on Oilers Now