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Golf tournament fundraiser in Elkford and Fernie brings in large crowd, former NHL players

Money raised will go to the Elkford Women’s Task Force Society and Angel Flight East Kootenay

A golf tournament and gala in Fernie and Elkford brought in citizens and celebrities from far and wide to raise money for local safe homes and Angel Flight East Kootenay.

It was the fourth bi-annual charity golf tournament put on by the Bearspaw Contracting ‘Community First’ Society. The gala took place at the Elkford Community Conference Centre on Thursday (June 16), and the golf tournament was held at the Fernie Golf Club the next day.

Ian Benson, owner of Bearspaw Contracting, said the event brought in around 300 people, including some from Vancouver, Edmonton, and Calgary.

He said the turnout was amazing.

“We’ve grown this event to quite a large event, so really proud of what we’ve created here,” he said.

The first rendition of the event took place in 2013, and took a year off in 2020 due to the pandemic.

The organizational core of the event includes Benson, Jocelyn Benson, Monique Lee, Abbey White, Jer Rodd, Jamie Rodd, Kim Bauer (of the EWTFS), John Bower, and Jason Smith. Len Gostick was a co-founder and continual sponsor of the event.

According to a letter to the community about the event, since 2014, they have raised over $400,000, “benefiting the construction of a heli-pad for medical evacuations in Elkford, t-bar upgrades at Wapiti Ski Hill in Elkford, construction of a palliative care unit at Lilac Terrace in Sparwood, and invaluable resources for Elk Valley Safe Homes.”

Money raised through the 2022 event will go to the Elkford Women’s Task Force Society’s (EWTFS) Elk Valley Safe Homes, which support people facing abuse, and Angel Flight East Kootenay, which flies people to Kelowna for medical care.

The gala included presentations from the EWTFS and Angel Flight, a concert, an auction, and a meet-and-greet and ‘hot stool’ with former NHL players.

The NHL players present included Wayne McBean, Mike Krushelnyski, Mike Vernon, Greg Adams, Kirk McLean, and Cliff Ronning.

“We’re glad to be here,” said McBean, who played for the LA Kings, New York Islanders, Winnipeg Jets, and the Medicine Hat Tigers (the latter of which is a WHL team).

“We want to raise a lot of money, the people that are here are good people that want to support the area, that live in the area, and it’s all going to a good cause.”

Krushelnyski, who has four Stanley Cups under his belt, praised the organizers of the event for their work fundraising.

“It’s a lot of fun. As long as the money is raised for… a good cause. That’s all it’s about.”

McBean said he was called to attend one of the events four years ago, and had never heard of Elkford at that point.

He said Elkford is an ‘amazing community.’

“You know what, the people here are very down to earth. They’re self-made, they’re hard working people.

“All the alumni here are very, very proud to come here to support this event.”

READ MORE: Bearspaw “Community First” Society makes sizeable donations

READ MORE: Helipad on the way for Elkford


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