Ethan Allard Hockey Tournament is a dream come true
The Allard family has organized the first annual Ethan Allard Hockey Tournament which will be taking place from Feb. 16 to 18 at Petawawa Civic Centre. Pictured in back (left to right) are brothers Adam, Justin, Kyle, Cole and Jamie. In front (left to right) are sisters Holly, Page, Hope, their mother Linda, Justin and Felicity and dad Shane.
For the love of hockey and family, the Petawawa Civic Centre will come alive with the first annual Ethan Allard Hockey Tournament on Family Day weekend.
It was January 2017 that the Allard family heard the heartbreaking news that one of their own, then 24-year-old Ethan Allard, had lost his life in a workplace accident.
In loving memory of Ethan, the Allard family founded the Ethan Allard Memorial Hockey Fund (EAMHF) to raise money to help local kids afford to play the game of hockey – Ethan’s second biggest love, next to his family and friends.
Now, one year later, the Allard family is keeping Ethan’s legacy alive with EAMHF and they’re carrying on his hockey fuelled-dreams with the first annual Ethan Allard Hockey Tournament.
“There is no better way to honour Ethan than to do something like this,” Jamie Allard, tournament co-chair and Ethan’s brother.
Taking place from Feb. 16 to 18 at the Petawawa Civic Centre, the tournament will welcome 16 teams divided into an open and a recreational division. Jamie himself will be flying down from Washington, D.C. with his entire men’s league hockey team to partake in the open division.
“I live in Washington D.C and my whole men's league hockey team from Washington is making the trip up with me,” said Jamie. “It was so amazing to the point where I didn’t even have to ask them. They jumped onboard right away and said 'when's the tournament? we're putting a team in' and that was it.”
Prior to the opening games for both divisions, the Allards have planned two special ceremonies to beautifully celebrate the inaugural tournament and honour Ethan’s memory.
The ceremony for the open division will begin Feb. 16 at 6 p.m. with the rousing voices of the Petawawa Military Wives Choir singing ‘O Canada’ and ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’. Thereafter, parents Shane and Linda Allard will perform the ceremonial puck drop to officially kick off the action.
Following that game, another opening ceremony will take place at 7:10 p.m. to launch the recreational division.
“My parents will be dropping the puck, we have our family priest who will bless the tournament during the opening games, the Military Wives Choir will be singing and then we have Canadian Tire's Jumpstart charity that's also going to be involved that night,” said Jamie.
By 9 p.m. that night, guests will be invited to browse autographed NHL jerseys and one-of-a-kind items up for bid at the tournament's silent auction. Along with Blue Jays and Ottawa Senators tickets, the auction will include signed NHL jerseys of Wendel Clarke, Shea Weber and Matthew Peca among many other items.
Along with the hockey itself, players and guests will have the opportunity to clink glasses together and toast to Ethan at a party on Saturday night at the Civic Centre Hall.
“The auction items will be placed up for bid on Friday and we'll be drawing them roughly around 9p.m. on Saturday night. We're having a big party up at the hall of the Civic Centre and we're expecting hundreds of people as already over 200 people have said that they'll be there,” said Jamie.
The three-day tournament will conclude on Sunday with the winning team from both divisions being presented with an Ethan Allard Memorial Hockey Tournament trophy and a bottle of celebratory champagne.
“We've had two trophies made, both of which are cups, which are going to come with a bottle of champagne and every team member on the winning team will have their names on the trophy every year,” said Jamie.
With the funds and donations that they accrue through the tournament, Ethan’s family hopes to fund local kids’ and teens’ dreams of playing hockey and other sports – in the form of scholarships and funds to cover the cost of hockey equipment and registration for local youth.
As Canadian Tire’s Jumpstart Charity gas a similar mission of being “committed to making play and sport more accessible for kids of all abilities”, the Allards have committed to donating $6,000 of the funds to Jumpstart right off the bat.
“This is a fun event and it's a charity event. Obviously people play sports to win, but we're really focusing on the giving portion of this event and that's the big thing,” said Jamie. “Canadian Tire has actually agreed to match the funds so there will be $12,000 going to the Jumpstart charity and we couldn’t ask for a better partnership that way.”
While the tournament was founded and largely organized by the Allards, Jamie expressed that the financial and moral support that they’ve received from family, friends, local businesses and community members has been immensely gratifying.
“The tournament would be going nowhere if all 12 of us remaining kids were not involved, along with my parents,” said Jamie. “But the community as well, both local and external, has been unbelievable.
Anyone interested in making a donation can visit the "Ethan Allard Memorial Hockey Fund" Facebook page for more information and to support the Allard family's charitable efforts.