Support for 50/50 tickets sales during the 30th Annual Norsemen Memorial Hockey Tournament on the weekend came from around the globe. Some from as far away as Australia, parts of Southeast Asia, the west coast of Canada and provinces in between.
Sales were buoyed especially by those familiar with the Norsemen’s annual Mount Hamilton hockey exchange. Many of the long distance purchases were made by former players who took part in the exchange or had a child or grandchild who enjoyed the experience.
Sales brought in more than $7,000 over the three-day tournament. After expenses the exchange would get about $2,500 from the pot with $3,599 going to lucky ticket holder Jane King of Kilmuir.
Technology made it possible for the public to receive updates as the pot quickly filled up. Interest was also generated by Facebook where some names of ticket buyers and their connection to the exchange were posted.
Mike Annear is a player alumni and he helps organize the exchange. He noted that people from Mount Hamilton also buy tickets to help fund the trip. The biggest expense of the exchange is a one-week bus rental to the tune of $12,000 so that means everyone involved will have had a hand in the fundraising in one form or another.
“The exchange only lasts as long as everybody buys into what we’re doing and thinks it’s worthwhile and fortunately everybody always has,” Mr Annear said.
The exchange is an annual trip where a Pee Wee Norsemen team, (ages 11 and 12), from Montague or the Town of Hamilton in Ontario pile into a charter bus and visit the other community for a week of hockey, social events and tours. The trip has been bringing kids together for 52 years now.
Mr Annear said it creates an immediate buzz for kids as they enter their Pee Wee years in hockey.
“It’s pretty amazing. It’s always something we look forward to because it’s a part of our organization,” he said. “Once you put your skates on and join minor hockey you know about the Hamilton exchange.”
This year’s team will be made up of 16 players. Because of dwindling numbers of Pee Wee age players in Montague, Mr Annear said the invitation has been widened to include other organizations such as Northumberland and Belfast.
"We’ve had kids from Morell play and we’ve had kids from Souris play,” Mr Annear said.
The team is comprised of boys and girls and tryouts aren’t part of the process in assembling the team.
“It’s not about skill, it’s more about the cultural exchange and those who are interested apply. Thankfully we’ve always had good interest and we’ve always been able to accommodate everybody,” he said, adding no players have been refused.
The Montague team will leave for Hamilton on March 13, which is March Break on PEI.