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2023 Cooper Nemeth Hockey Memorial Raises $22K for Player Assistance Fund

Images courtesy of the Cooper Nemeth Hockey Memorial

2023 Cooper Nemeth Hockey Memorial Raises $22K for Player Assistance Fund

On March 25, the Cooper Nemeth Hockey Memorial returned to Gateway Recreation Centre for its fourth iteration.

After back-to-back years without the honorary event (COVID related), the ever-popular day-long tournament was played for the second time in as many years at Nemeth’s former stomping grounds.

Saturday’s slate featured four games (U-13, U-15, U-18, Alumni) with the fundraiser seeing players from AA hockey across Winnipeg – Cooper’s former level of play – earn spots on the honorary teams facing off in a one-game showdown per age group, with player prizes and a post-game pizza party following the game action.

Running from 11:00 AM to 7:00 PM, the day-long tribute/fundraiser was highlighted by the announcement of the incredible community support, with funds being donated to the tune of $20K+.

“The 4th Annual Cooper Nemeth Hockey Memorial has raised $22,010 for Hockey Winnipeg’s Cooper Nemeth Memorial Player Assistance Fund,” the official event page posted shortly after Saturday’s final game. “Thank you to our sponsors, donors, players, coaches, refs, timekeepers, volunteers, and everyone who came out and taking part to make this day so special!”

Last year, $17,760 was raised in Nemeth’s honour at the third annual running of the event. Once again, $5 admission was charged, while 16 silent auction prizes were bid on and handed out.

All proceeds from the fundraising event were donated to Hockey Winnipeg’s Cooper Nemeth Memorial Player Assistance Fund.

The fund was created in advance of the 2019-20 season to help offset the costs of playing hockey at the AA level. The Cooper Nemeth Memorial Player Assistance Fund is intended to assist children and youth who would not otherwise participate in minor hockey related activities. Players/families interested in applying for funding are asked to fully complete the application form found on the Hockey Winnipeg website.

This funding may include, but would not be limited to, the following incurred expenses: Area Association program participation, administrative and volunteer fees; league and exhibition game travel expenses; additional ice fees, including try-out ice; tournament fees; monies collected for team pictures and wind-up parties; medals and awards; and personal clothing items which become the property of the applicable player. 

Nemeth (1998-2016) was a prominent Grade 12, Midget AA hockey player for the River East Marauders, who went missing after a house party in February of 2016. The Bear Clan Patrol squad amongst thousands of others spent days searching the many neighbourhoods of Winnipeg, until Nemeth’s body was found.

Following an extensive investigation, Nemeth’s death was ruled a murder in a ‘drug deal gone wrong’. His assailant Nicholas Bell-Wright – who was on probation following a previous violent attack – pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in November of 2017, and has since been locked away on an automatic life sentence, with no chance of parole for another 13 years.

For those feeling lonely or in danger, the Kids Help Phone now offers textual communication. Text the word ‘CONNECT’ to 686868 for immediate assistance on the Crisis Text Line at any time 24/7/365.

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