Cape Breton hockey tournament scores big for food bank
The puck has been dropped and the largest recreational hockey tournament in the world is underway this weekend at almost every rink in industrial Cape Breton. Hundreds of players are hitting the ice in Glace Bay for the annual Vince Ryan Memorial Hockey Tournament.
But the real winner is off-the-ice, thanks to a generous donation from Fraser MacAulay, a Cape Breton native who arrived at this year's tournament along with an 18-wheeler full of cereal.
"It's been 20 years I've been doing it now," says MacAulay. "Since then we've been bringing bits of food down from time-to-time and for the last 10 years I've been very fortunate enough to bring down truckloads of cereal product."
Fraser MacAulay grew up in Glace Bay, leaving at the age of 16 to play Major Junior Hockey. After his hockey career, he began working with Kellogg's in London Ontario. But he returns to his hometown every year for the Vince Ryan Memorial Tournament.
"It's nice to get back and see your friends. You can kind of be like a kid again, no responsibilities, come down, play some hockey, tell some stories and visit these folks down here," explains MacAulay.
But MacAulay's visit means much more the community.
"It's been absolutely amazing to not have to buy it. You look at some of the cereals and it can be five or six dollars a box." says food bank employee Kimberly McPherson. "There are some families that can't afford it, and they may have six children at home. Some schools use it for their breakfast program. It's just awesome."
This year there are more than 15,000 boxes of cereal. A small army of volunteers lined the parking lot, helping to unload and carry in the needed donation, which will be handed out to other non-profit groups as well.
"It means a lot to me because I was a coal miner and I remember strikes and everything else. I had to use the food bank myself, so I believe in giving back to the community," says Wayne Mauger, one of the volunteers.
Over the years, several trucking companies have stepped up to deliver the goods free of charge.
MacAulay is now retired and says at his age the tournament is more about the social aspect. But he adds that he's already looking forward to the 2019 tournament.
With files from CTV Atlantic's Kyle Moore.