One hundred and 30 hockey players laced up the skates this past weekend in memory of a fallen friend.
The players hit the ice at Sportsplex for the first annual Ryan Donaldson Memorial Hockey Tournament.
“They definitely want this to happen again next year,” said Kirsten Donaldson, the primary organizer of what will become an annual event.
Her younger brother Ryan committed suicide in 2014 after struggling with concussions and head injuries suffered while playing hockey. He was just 17.
The majority of the players in the tournament were ex-teammates of Donaldson’s or played against him in the Langley Minor Hockey Association.
While most of them were local players, others were from the Okanagan, Prince George and some came from as far away as California and Washington state.
On the ice, the Langley Vipers won the inaugural tournament title.
As part of the weekend’s events — which included a barbecue, silent auction and 50/50 draw — 50 of the 130 players were able to undergo baseline testing.
Baseline testing measures brain function and it can be used as a tool for concussion evaluation. Typically, an athlete undergoes the test prior to their sporting season and then if they suffer any sort of head injury during the season, they can take another test and compare the brain function before and after the injury.
The first annual tournament raised $5,000.
“That was quite a feat for our first year,” Donaldson said.
The money will be put into a trust fund for Langley athletes who suffer a head injury and may not be able to afford treatment or post-injury testing.
The baseline testing was provided by Complete Concussion Management while Sportsplex donated the ice time.
For more information on the tournament, visit www.ryandonaldsonmemorial.ca.