Cancer cut Jordan Owens life short back in 1999, but his memory lives on in a hockey tournament in Langley. (Special to the Langley Advance)

VIDEO: One boy’s passion for hockey rekindled in annual Langley tourney

The 18th annual Jordan Owens Memorial raised more than $20,000 for BC Children’s Hospital this year.

It didn’t matter so such which teams emerged triumphant from a four-day hockey tournament at the Langley Sportsplex this weekend.

What matters is that more than 525 young hockey players (ranging in age from five to nine) and hundreds of parents, coaches, and fans came together to help raise more than $20,000 for BC Children’s Hospital.

Money raised at this weekend’s 18th annual Jordan Owens 2018 Memorial Tournament is all going to the hospital in honour of the event’s namesake.

Jordan was a Langley player who lost his long battle to cancer at the age of seven back in 1999. The tournament was rebranded the next year to bear his name, said tourney coordinator Rick Kish.

This year’s event attracted 38 teams – mostly from Langley. But there was a smattering of teams from other Lower Mainland communities such as Maple Ridge, Port Coquitlam, Coquitlam, Squamish, Surrey, and White Rock, as well as some from across the border in Whatcom County, Kish explained.

Jordan’s family continue to express gratitude to the Langley Minor Hockey Association for hosting this even in his memory.

“One of Jordan’s greatest loves was his hockey,” they said. “He had tried his hand at many sports, but found his most enjoyment on the ice. Although never excelling, his true enjoyment of the sport made up for it.”

They thanked the LMHA for its efforts, saying it goes a long way in making a difference in the lives of sick kids.

“We know Jordan would be proud,” said Tim, Marsh, Taylor, and Cailley Owens.

His parents recounted a special moment when they realized how much Jordan loved the sport.

“We watched Jordan, during one game, goof around with a friend who happened to be a goalie. They giggled and laughed in the net, totally oblivious to the play going on at the other end of the ice. He, in his own way, showed all of us watching that there was a little more involved than just winning,” they recounted.

“He was always showing patience, understanding, and the true meaning of team sport. He carried this with him throughout his illness; often times too ill to do many things, but never really too ill to pick up a hockey stick.”

Kish was delighted to announce that this year’s silent auction, 50-50 draws, basket raffles, and other fundraising efforts helped LMHA surpass the $20,000 mark – he’s just not sure yet by how much.

Kish’s personal wish is to raise $25,000 this year.

Through the years, this tournament has raised about $190,000 for various children’s charities – in Jordan’s name. Those include Make-A-Wish, Canuck Place, Balding for Dollars, and BC Children’s Hospital.

“It’s pretty exciting stuff,” said Kish, who took on the coordinator’s role for the first time this year.

This tournament is always held on the weekend following the Langley Cup, and Kish is suggesting that next year extra efforts be made to extend the fundraising to that hockey event, as well.

“Lots of wonderful volunteers, people helping out from the community, donations from the community, make this happen,” Kish said, elated with the feedback he received throughout the weekend.

Two keys to this event were achieved, said Kish: Children had fun, most playing in three-on-three or four-on-four games on half-ice (not the full length); and a giant chunk of cash was raised to help sick kids.

LMHA president Aaron Sproule agreed.

“It’s through tournaments such as this, where young people and their families come together to enjoy their love of hockey – while at the same time giving back to their community – that the true value of minor hockey becomes apparent,” Sproule said.

 

Using a cross-ice formatted rink, the minor hockey association was able to fit more games into this week’s charity tournament at the Langley Sportsplex. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance)

Using a cross-ice formatted rink, the minor hockey association was able to fit more games into this week’s charity tournament at the Langley Sportsplex. (Roxanne Hooper/Langley Advance)

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