Eighteen teams will hit the floor, all in search of gold medals, and they will do so in memory of a lacrosse-loving teen who was taken too soon.
The 42nd annual Dennis Hickey Memorial Lacrosse Tournament gets underway this week at Langley Events Centre. In fact, action gets under way today.
Teams are competing in three midget divisions (A1, A2 and B) for four days of lacrosse action, which wraps up on Sunday with the gold-medal games for all three groups.
The tournament is named after Dennis Hickey, a 17-year-old who passed away in 1976 after the vehicle he was a passenger in crashed. The tournament is one of the longest running minor lacrosse tournaments in all of B.C.
“It is a great honour and a great comfort, both those things,” explained his mother, Verna Hickey.
“He was only 17 and he must have left a mark with what kind of person he was to have someone feel a tournament was a dedication to him.”
Norm Bladu, the father of one of Dennis’ teammates, donated the championship trophy.
Since its inception, either Verna – health-permitting – or another family member has attended the tournament.
And it brings back memories for Verna of just how much her son loved the sport.
Dennis was always an outdoors type, whether that was fishing, skiing, part of the fish and game and 4H clubs or working on either the family’s acreage or helping their neighbours bale their hay.
He was an athlete, playing many sports, and found lacrosse when he was 13, and Hickey had bounds of energy and enthusiasm.
“He had an unlimited amount of energy and lacrosse helped harness that,” Verna said,
“When lacrosse came, it seemed to fill all the areas he had and got rid of that extra attention. He poured it into the sport,” she chuckled. “It vented off some of his extra energy in the right direction (and) taught him he had to be dedicated if he wanted to do well.
Dennis, a goaltender, played so well, he earned most valuable player honours in the league one season.
The 42nd annual Dennis Hickey Memorial Tournament runs Thursday, June 14 to Sunday, June 17 with games happening in both the main arena and fieldhouse at Langley Events Centre, 7888 200th St.