Commerce students bring hockey and charity together

The Cure Canadian Classic committee has high hopes for its second Commerce vs. Engineering hockey game

Image supplied by: Supplied by Fiona Windrim
Paul Langlois (middle) at the Commerce-Engineering game in 2016.

The Cure Canadian Classic has recently taken a different approach to philanthropic giving. 

Since its inception in 2003, the Cure Canadian Classic (CCC) — which runs through the Commerce Society and the Smith School of Business — has hosted a range of hockey-related charity events in support of cancer research. For instance, the CCC Classic is an annual hockey tournament featuring students from eight to ten Canadian business schools. Over the last decade, the event has contributed over $100,000 to cancer research.

But in the wake of the Gord Downie Fund for Brain Cancer Research being established and The Tragically Hip’s final concert, the committee’s charitable giving focus shifted.  

“With [Downie’s] recent passing, we feel there’s no better time to raise funds and awareness for this important cause,” CCC co-chair Tom McDonell said on exclusively donating to the Downie Fund and brain cancer research. 

McDonell further noted the committee particularly finds this to be a cause that resonates with the Kingston community.

In line with this philanthropic change, the CCC hosted its first ever Commerce vs. Engineering hockey game at the K-Rock Centre last year. McDonell said the committee’s new main event was a success by nearly every measure.

“The atmosphere was just incredible,” he said, adding the event garnered a crowd of over 1,500 people and drew upwards of $11,500 in ticket sales and donations. 

Taking place on Nov. 9, the second rendition of the Commerce-Engineering game will act as a prelude to a weekend inter-faculty tournament hosted by the CCC at the Invista Centre — also a first for the committee.

“[W]hat we’ve found with these charity events especially is that they’re a lot more effective and you’ll raise a lot more money if events are fun for the people attending,” McDonell said. 

Barring Commerce and Engineering, the faculties with registered teams in the tournament are Kinesiology, Arts, Science and what McDonell described as an “All-Star” team composed of students from smaller faculties like Law and Medicine.

The committee’s goal for the weekend, through required sign-up fees to which each faculty team adheres to, is that more money in total will be raised for the Downie Fund this year. Teams are required to fund $2,500 each, along with participants paying a player fee upon registering.

Although optimistic and excited about the inter-faculty tournament, the committee remains focused on the potential of the Commerce-Engineering game. The game will be broadcasted live on TV Cogeco and Downie’s bandmate and Hip guitarist, Paul Langlois, will participate in the ceremonial puck drop for the second consecutive year. 

“We see [the game] as something that would be on-par with the Carr Harris Cup … This is more of a local rivalry and kind of hits home with Queen’s students especially,” McDonell said. 

Treasurer to the CCC Fiona Windrim said with each passing year the committee believes the event can continue to draw in larger crowds.

“I think every year that it happens, we get a bit of wider audience,” she said. As the event grows in popularity, “more and more people will come to know about it — and not just from Queen’s, but the community-at-large.”  

Despite a considerable turnout during last year’s game, the committee is confident — and hopeful — that they can get up to 4,000 people to attend this year.

“It’s got that dual aspect to it,” Windrim said of the event. “People think of it as, ‘It’s a good time for a good cause.’”

Both McDonell and Windrim agreed there’s a fun, light animosity between the two programs, giving the game a rivalry feel.

“We hopefully want to see this run for years to come — and run well,” McDonell said.



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