Skip to main content
Open this photo in gallery:

The Braestone Winter Classic Charity Pond Hockey Tournament in Oro-Medonte, Ont. on Feb 4, 2023, which benefited The Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Centre at RVH.Handout

The organizer: Ted Markle

The pitch: Raising $300,000 and climbing

The cause: the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Centre

As the country was emerging from the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021, Ted Markle and his friend Jamie Massie started talking about doing something in their area to bring people back together.

Mr. Massie owns Braestone Farm, a real estate development outside Barrie, Ont., that includes a farm, skating pond and other outdoor amenities. “He and I were walking around the farm and we were talking about organizing a community event. And as we rounded the pond, we kind of agreed on a pond hockey tournament. What could be more small-town Canada than that?,” Mr. Markle recalled from his home in Oro-Medonte, outside Barrie.

Mr. Markle had just lost his brother Jeff who died in the summer of 2021 from an aggressive form of cancer that affected his esophagus, stomach and liver. Mr. Markle, 57, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin lymphoma several years ago and he’s been successfully treated at the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Centre. “It only made sense that our regional cancer centre should be the beneficiary of such an event,” he added.

The first Braestone Winter Classic Charity Pond Hockey Tournament took place in 2022 and featured 16 teams of men and women who competed in a three-on-three format. Twenty teams participated the following year and the tournament raised $175,000 over both years for the hospital.

This year’s classic takes place from Feb. 2-4 and 22 teams are expected to take part. Mr. Markle is hoping to raise $130,000.

He joked that so far the event has come during the coldest weekend of the winter. But that hasn’t stopped players and spectators from showing up. “We’re just so fortunate. Everybody is happy to get involved, to roll up their sleeves, to volunteer or to play,” he said.

Seeing the tournament grow has been gratifying for him, but he’s especially proud of how the community has rallied around the event. “And being a little bit competitive by nature every year you want to raise a bit more,” he added.

Follow related authors and topics

Authors and topics you follow will be added to your personal news feed in Following.

Interact with The Globe