By Darren Lum
While standing at the end boards watching his son Tanner play for the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League’s Haliburton Wolves at the A.J. LaRue Arena Scot Hamilton still remembers the smile on his son Dawson’s face as they floated down the river on tubes the summer of 2007 in Gelert as part of their time staying at a cottage organized by the charity Cottage Dreams.
On Nov. 19 the Haliburton Wolves will honour Dawson’s memory with its first of what they hope to be many Dawson Hamilton Memorial Hockey Games with proceeds going to Cottage Dreams.
It makes Scot and his son Tanner feel good to know people have not forgotten about Dawson the boy who had a passion for hockey and for life before he died from cancer in 2010. Dawson would have been 15 now.
Tanner is looking forward to the game and appreciates Cottage Dreams for what it did for his brother and his family.
“It was really cool actually. Just to realize what people do for kids like that. To know that they’re always thinking of people that are sick and … basically turning [residences] into a room full of fun. That’s all it is. It’s games electronics like Playstations. Whatever you want to do really. Pool tables. Basically anything we wanted to do” he remembers.
Three days into the week-long stay Dawson unexpectedly had to return to Toronto for treatment at Sick Kids Hospital.
Getting to contribute to Cottage Dreams and allow other children and their families this opportunity means a lot to Dawson’s older brother Tanner. He appreciates the idea that the money will go directly to a specific cause and help people instead of a large charity where that might not happen.
Haliburton’s Owen Flood a defenceman with the team wanted to organize a charity game for October. The team’s head of hockey operations Darryl Porter also a cancer survivor asked Hamilton if it would be OK to have a game in his brother’s memory. They came up with the memorial game for Cottage Dreams.
“I think it will be a great way to [raise awareness for the cause] and have it played in his name” Flood said referring to Dawson. “If the team keeps going strong then it will be a yearly thing.”
Tanner was taken aback by his teammate’s effort to initiate this game.
“I felt honoured and I really respect him a lot for that. It was pretty exciting when I heard we’re going to have a game here for him” he said.
Blue was Dawson’s favourite colour.
Tanner and Flood are asking everyone who attends the game to wear blue. A portion of the admission for anyone wearing blue will go to Cottage Dreams. Players are considering putting blue tape on sticks.
The team is planning a surprise for fans at the first period intermission while the second period intermission will feature the chuck-a-puck contest. All the money made from the chuck-a-puck contest will go to to Cottage Dreams.
Flood said the event may feature a silent auction and/or raffle table with hockey memorabilia.
The funds made by the team from the 50/50 draw will also go to the charity recipient. Although they won’t tell the winner what to do they hope that 50 per cent of the winnings will be donated back bolstering the fundraised total from the event.
Besides the money Hamilton likes to raise awareness of how cancer can hit anyone.
“I love playing in games like this. It shows how much people care about cancer. Small towns come right together and it shows everyone cares” he said.