For the 10th year running, Blackfalds Minor Hockey will pay tribute to former hockey player Cody Dennis by playing the game he loved.
This Saturday, Blackfalds will host the 10th annual Cody Dennis Memorial Hockey Game.
Brenda Dennis, Cody’s mother, said that were her son around to see how he is being remembered and how much support there is for the event even after 10 years he would be impressed.
“I think he would be pretty happy,” said Brenda. “It’s overwhelming what a little town has done.”
Cody was an avid hockey fan and player growing up. He played minor hockey in Blackfalds until there weren’t enough players to form a team. After that, Cody moved to play with Lacombe Minor Hockey.
As a young adult, he continued to play hockey in local rec leagues. However, Cody’s hockey career was cut short when he was killed in a collision while riding his motorcycle.
At Cody’s funeral, Brenda was approached by Cody’s former hockey coach, saying he wanted to do something to honour Cody’s memory. Thus, the Cody Dennis Memorial Hockey Game was born and has been held every year since. Now, each year, Cody’s former teammates on the 1998-1999 Blackfalds Bantam Bulldogs hockey team return to Blackfalds to play in a fun game to remember their friend and teammate and raise money for Blackfalds Minor Hockey.
Brenda said this is a great show of support as many of those team members no longer live in the region or even the province.
“It’s unreal that those guys still take the time to come down to the game.”
She added that that the first few years the game was held the team played a local rec team but, as some of the rec players are getting too old to play, the opposing team in more recent years is usually made up of various minor hockey coaches and officials.
In the last two years a new tradition has been introduced to the game, she said.
For the first period of the game, the 98-99 Bulldogs play against one of the younger current Blackfalds Minor Hockey teams.
Brenda said this is usually a fun game and a lighthearted way to remember her son. She added that it will often involve some mock penalty calls against the goalie of the older Bulldog team, which was Cody’s position, with the goalie even serving the penalty himself in the box.
During one of the intermissions of the game, the Cody Dennis Memorial Award is traditionally presented.
This award is presented to the team in the oldest division of Blackfalds Minor Hockey to a player who demonstrates sportsmanship, team spirit, hustle, enthusiasm and leadership. However, Brenda said that as this year’s oldest minor hockey team, the Bantam Bulldogs, are playing in an out of town tournament the same weekend, the award will not be presented at the game this year.
The Cody Dennis Memorial Game is very well attended and even received the attention of Kraft Hockeyville a few years ago, said Brenda. She added that as a fundraiser for Blackfalds Minor Hockey, the event usually raises between $4,000 and $5,000.