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The good old hockey game

Photo credit: Moussa Sangare Ponce

Before the first period began, all players and supporters removed their hats and sang our national anthem. It was one of the many moments when Sandy Hill locals came together with University of Ottawa students for the Sandy Hill Winter classic.

Saturday, Jan. 24 marked the second annual Sandy Hill Winter Classic hockey game open to all U of O students. It was picture perfect for organizers Evan Trofimchuk, Graeme Eastwood, Kyle Dunn, and Graeme Markell.

The tournament grew to 160 players compared to last year’s 100, and attracted more sponsors and volunteers.

This year’s round robin tournament format let more people stick around, bring out their friends, and hang out with some pizza and hot chocolate.

Head organizer Trofimchuk began to raise money for his Ride to Conquer Cancer after his friend’s father died of cancer a few years ago.

“Every year you have to raise $2,500, so the first year was easy to ask family and friends for money, but the second time, I didn’t want to pester them,” he said.

“Why not get all my friends together who have a common love for hockey and outdoor sports in Sandy Hill, and bring some competition to the table and raise the money as a team?”

This year’s tournament included a raffle and an after-party, which raised more than $3,000.

“It was a fun day, especially with the snow falling during the final game,” said Markell. “It started to have healthy completion going on, just seeing how everyone was so generally receptive of the idea, and the whole cause behind the day.”

The guys were surprised to see community members come out, especially those who weren’t involved in the tournament, simply to help with the cause.

“I was in contact with the guy who was running the ice, so he was getting extra floods and maintenance in for us,” said Trofimchuk.

“I had to pay my dues and help out by flooding the ice a couple of times. But I was always talking to him about how it was kind of cool how this tournament was integrating the students and the Sandy Hill locals, especially since there is always a clash between them.”

It was likely one of few times where students were partying without upsetting the residents.
Tromfimchuk was even asked by a community member how he would feel about a bunch of 40-year-old men playing in the tournament.

“I told him it was open to anybody. You might pull your groin, but it would be pretty cool if they could partake in the event.”

It was crucial for the organizersto keep the tournament friendly, dry, and respectful.

The four men are set to graduate this spring, but they hope the tournament will live on.

“The most important thing is to keep it for charity, and keep it friendly,” said Tromfimchuk. “We hope that people keep it for what it is.”