Cape Breton ball hockey tournament raises funds for cancer
Friends, family and former colleagues came together in Dominion, N.S. on Saturday to remember two fallen Cape Breton police officers.
For the second straight year, the Cops Against Cancer Floor Hockey Tournament was held in memory of the officers who both lost battles with cancer.
“They were both excellent police officers,” says Constable Dwight Miller, who organizes the annual tournament. “They were both excellent people, and they were both taken way too soon.”
Organized by the Cape Breton Regional Police Service, the tournament was named in honour of former Cape Breton Regional Police Constable Mark Royal and Constable Tara Morgan.
Const. Mark Royal was a 17-year veteran of the force who died in May of 2017 after a battle with cancer. Const. Royal was in charge of the Cape Breton Cops Against Cancer fundraising initiative, which raises money for the local branch of the Canadian Cancer Society.
“You would have never known he was sick,” says friend Nancy MacDonald. “He was strong from day one, always upbeat, always happy, always on the go.”
Constable Tara Morgan was only 23-years-old when she was diagnosed with a brain tumour. The cancer spread quickly, and she passed away in 2012, at the age of 24.
“It was a very difficult time. She was our only daughter and to lose her so young, it’s an ongoing process to try and deal with it, and trying to get over it.” says Fabian Morgan, Tara’s father. “It’s hard, you never expect to bury your children, very difficult.”
The games on the floor were competitive, but everyone participating in the ‘Cops Against Cancer’ floor hockey tournament shares the same goal; remembering their friends, and raising funds for the Canadian Cancer Society.
In 2018, the inaugural tournament raised more than $5000 for the cause. Organizers say this year’s tournament is on pace to surpass last year’s total.
“It’s not a good reason why we are here, but I think it’s a good cause, and everyone enjoys it,” says Const. Miller.
That includes both Royal and Morgan’s families, who participated in this year’s tournament, and shared stories throughout the day of their loved ones.
“We talk about him often,” says Nancy MacDonald. “Things that he loved to do; he would absolutely be in the middle of this.”
“It’s very important,” adds Fabian Morgan. “It helps the process of dealing with the loss every day and when you see the community come together to support, it helps with that grieving process.”
A shared goal of raising money and bringing awareness in memory of two officers that have left a lasting impression on their friends, family and community.
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Kyle Moore.