Another year and another Rod Watson Memorial Hockey game, however this year was not like others.
The event, held Feb. 28 in the Village of Port Alice, has never been about dropped gloves, dirty dangles, or the scoreboard, although this year’s 8-7 final tally in favour of the white shirts, certainly made it an exciting game.
The memorial game is held in recognition of Rod Watson who was a bedrock supporter of minor hockey in Port Alice. Watson loved the game of hockey to his very last breath having passed away from a heart attack at an oldtimers match in Powell River in February of 1991.
The Rod Watson Memorial Hockey Game is, and always has been, about community, which is undoubtably how Watson would have wanted it.
This year’s game saw not only a valued tradition carried on, it took a moment to remember Chris Bryce, a Port Alice resident that passed away nearly three years ago.
Doug Bondue describes Bryce as an absolute gem, an athlete, artist, academic, sibling, and beloved son. This is why there is a new hallmark on display nailed to the melon-green walls of the Port Alice hockey arena ramp as you approach the double doors leading to the rink. The display features a shadow box with a uniform and logo that was designed by Bryce when he was just a minor leaguer himself.
“When he was a young kid he (Bryce) designed a logo for the Port Alice minor hockey after winning a contest. So I got a hold of one of his jerseys and we put it in a shadow box and had his mom and dad here tonight and we presented that to them and so it was a double deal tonight,” said Bondue.
Although as of press time no dollar figure was available, Bondue said at least $500 will be put aside for a scholarship fund for a Port Alice student with dreams of higher education.
Something Russell Murray knows first-hand having been the recipient of the fund before his venture into post-secondary education attending the University of Victoria for a business degree.
“It was really fortunate for me to get help financially going through school and to continue on that tradition by helping other young Port Alice people to further their education and help them out is awesome,” Russell said.