By Heather Cameron
Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
The first annual Rowan Beckie U13 Memorial Hockey Tournament will take place from Nov. 10-12 at the Vauxhall and Taber arenas.
Melanie Jespersen, a director of the tournament along with Shantana Kover, said that this event is to honour Rowan Beckie, who passed away unexpectedly Feb. 11, 2023 at the age of 11.
“Rowan was a tremendous human being,” Jespersen said. “Family was super important to him as well as his faith. He was a wise old soul, and he was known for his kind nature, sense of humour and being a perfect example of a respectful team player. He impacted so many in the Taber community throughout his 11 years. This 1st Annual Rowan Beckie Memorial Tournament is a way that the hockey community can honour Rowan Beckie’s memory and create a lasting legacy. We hope to carry this on for years to come.”
Jespersen says that the games on Friday will be at the Vauxhall Arena starting at 5 p.m. while the games on the Saturday and Sunday will be held at the Taber Arena with the first game starting at 8 a.m. Finals, Jespersen says, will start Sunday at 9:30 a.m. In addition to the games, there will be a raffle table, mystery board on Saturday, and 50/50 draws for each game. Maggie’s Place Concession will also be available, Jespersen says.
“This year, part of the proceeds will go to purchasing memorial jerseys for the U13’s in Rowan’s favourite colour as well as a Rowan Beckie Sportsmanship Award which will be given at Taber Minor Hockey’s year-end banquet,” Jespersen said. “There are many ideas being discussed on how to use the proceeds to better the sport Rowan loved.”
U13 teams from Cochrane, Canmore, Airdrie, Beiseker, Redcliff and Lethbridge will be participating in the tournament alongside the Taber Oil Kings, Jespersen says.
“This tournament is meant for all players to have fun, try hard and to display respect for teammates, coaches, officials, and opponents,” Jespersen said. “This is one way we can remember and honour Rowan Beckie as a community.”
Jespersen says that there will also be a Moment of Silence at 11 a.m. and a Commemorative Ceremony at 12:30 p.m. on Nov. 11. The community, Jesperson says, has given an outpouring of support towards the tournament including businesses, owners and community members donating money or raffle table items.
“It has been overwhelming the amount of support the community has shown and we are so appreciative,” Jespersen said. “As well, we couldn’t have done it without the Taber Minor Hockey parents volunteering their time to make this event happen. This tournament will be a great way we can showcase our town of Taber.”