By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large
The NHL has the Stanley Cup.
Welland has Julia’s Hope Cup.
It’s time the two crossed paths, on a national platform, that is.
This three-on-three pond hockey tournament, honouring the memory of Julia Turner, daughter of Tina and Paul, is being held Saturday, Feb. 7.
I wish someone could make Grapes, er, Don Cherry aware of it. Cherry needs to plug this on national television, on Coach’s Corner, this weekend before it is played, or even next weekend, as kind of a recap of how it played out.
Cherry needs to chat with Paul and Tina, who could tell this story and what’s behind it better than any scribbler. It lives in their hearts. It’s part of their souls.
Julia died from cancer December, 23, 2011 at age 15. She is well remembered and much loved, not just by family but friends too. Many, many friends.
The pond hockey tournament was started several years before to raise funds and awareness about homelessness in Welland and to celebrate the joy and camaraderie of pond hockey, Paul told me Monday afternoon walking across the outdoor rink. He and his chums played pond hockey there while growing up in the ‘hood. Many of yesteryear’s chums are still his chums today and involved in the tournament.
It became Julia’s Hope Cup in 2012, raising about $35,000.
It was a natural fit. Julia was well known for concern about and care for the vulnerable. Call it a gift of sorts, from mom and dad. Charitable work and social justice are part of their lifeblood. Julia, as did her siblings, followed in their footsteps.
I’ve come to think of it as celebration of and by community. Paul doesn’t talk of his and Tina’s involvement. He talks about the other folks who pitch in to make it what it is. Other than City of Welland parks staff and others for their maintenance work on the site, I won’t name them for fear of missing a supporting business or long-time Turner friend and I don’t want that to happen.
“Can you do anything more Canadian than playing hockey on a pond with your friends, neighbours, people in the community and while you’re doing it – raising money for a good cause?” asked Paul, who loves the game and plays it, ardently, to this day. We were slip -sliding across the wind-swept outdoor rink in not the best of conditions for a photo op, but Paul didn’t care. He came with the Cup itself, and a hockey stick of course, and a poster of the event, one that makes the most effective use of white space I’ve seen in some time. Wow is it loaded!
Paul’s a natural poseur , a guy who loves the camera. He hammed it up on his own accord: a happy face, a grimacing face, whatever. It was all for a good cause, of course.
Julia’s Hope Cup raised $25,000 in 2013 and $20,000 in 2014. The goal this year is to raise at least that amount, and hopefully to top it. Since the start about 11 years ago, more than $100,000 has been raised in total.
Grapes needs to hear about this pond hockey tournament. I know it would be dear to his heart. He needs to talk about it on Coach’s Corner, to tell the country it’s all Welland good, to tell the country about a hometown hockey tournament with hope in its name, a cup that brings to mind another cup and a picture of a pretty girl smiling from a poster about her tournament, Julia’s Hope Cup. That’s My View.
(A former reporter and city editor, Joe Barkovich lives in his hometown of Welland, Ontario, Canada’s Rose City.)