The 15th Annual Cody Dennis Memorial Game is coming back to the Blackfalds Multiplex on Jan. 26th.
The game was initially started by Dennis’s family and his Blackfalds Minor Hockey coaches after he tragically passed away in a tragic motorcycle accident on June 8th, 2004.
“It was an idea that came after his funeral,” Cody’s sister Karla Dennis said. “He had four hockey coaches that thought we should keep Cody’s legacy going on, so we decided to have a fun game between originally Cody’s old beer league team — the Beer Hounds — and his old minor hockey teammates.
“Eventually, the beer league team went away so we switched it to be the current coaches of Blackfalds Minor Hockey.”
This year, to mark the 15th year of the game, organizers have invited the past 15 recipients of the Cody Dennis Memorial Award to compete in the game alongside Cody’s old teammates.
”It has turned out to be quite competitive the last couple years. It is still a for-fun game, but it is good to see every one trying hard to win the game,” Karla said. “In the first period, we get kids from Blackfalds Minor Hockey to come and play against Cody’s old teammates, which makes it quite fun. We make sure the ref makes fun calls like having a goalie in the penalty box. We also had one where everyone lined up on the blue line and whoever had the worst helmet hair got a penalty.
“We make it fun for the kids and they enjoy playing against adults.”
The night also is a fundraiser for Blackfalds Minor Hockey through door prizes, raffle tickets and 50/50 draw.
“We usually have lots of door prizes thanks to the Central Alberta Toy Run Association,” Karla said. “If we didn’t have them, I don’t think the game would still be going. They help us out a huge amount setting it up; they go find all the door prizes; they also sell the 50/50 tickets and work the door.
“They are great guys and they do a lot for the community and a lot for us.”
The Dennis family, along with Blackfalds Minor Hockey, then decide how the money is split up.
“That is a joint decision between our family and the Minor Hockey Board,” she said. “We have done goalie clinics, power skating, dryland training clinics and jerseys.”
One of the highlights of the evening is when the Cody Dennis Memorial Award is handed out to an individual playing on the highest level of hockey currently being offered by Blackfalds Minor Hockey.
“The player has to be an all-around player,” Karla said, adding it is intended to go to a player that plays like Cody did.
“He played no matter what. He was out on that ice and he was a good teammate. He was one of those players that you could count on and that is what the Memorial Award is for — someone who plays like Cody did when he played hockey.”
The game has been able to raise as much as $5,000 in years past for Blackfalds Minor Hockey.
“We have had tremendous community support,” Karla said. “We get a lot of minor hockey support which is amazing because all of this goes back to them. We also see a lot of kids enjoying watching their coaches out there trying to win the game.”
The game runs Jan. 26th from 6-8:30 p.m. at the Blackfalds Multiplex.