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Firefighters’ tournament raises funds for B.C. Burn Fund

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Whistler’s firefighters are hosting the second annual Whistler Fire Rescue Cup this weekend, a hockey tournament and fundraiser for the B.C. Burn Fund.

Ten teams and 200 firefighters are coming from fire rescue services across the province for the event, four more than last year’s event, which was held in June.

"We put together a really tight event last year, and the people at Meadow Park were kind enough to give us a better weekend this year and we got a lot of interest. We’ve had to turn about five fire departments away, which is pretty good for an event in its second year," said David Evans, one of the tournament organizers.

As well as a lot of hockey, the all-weekend event will include a beer garden, a raffle draw, a 50-50 draw, a puck toss, T-shirt sales, a donation boot, and a concession stand. There will also be a social night and fundraiser at Moe Joe’s nightclub on Saturday night (April 3).

All of the money raised by the tournament will go towards the B.C. Burn Fund, which was established in 1978 by the B.C. Professional Firefighters Association to assist in burn prevention, survivor support and recovery programs for burn victims.

"Of all the charities this is the one that’s dearest to our hearts, because fire is such a devastating event in people’s lives, and it does injure people as well," said Evans.

They hope to raise more than $3,000 this year. Part of that money will go towards the annual Burn Fund camp that is held every summer in Squamish at the North Shore Outdoor School. The participants in the camp spend a day in Whistler as well as guests of Whistler Professional Firefighters Local #3944 and Whistler-Blackcomb.

"It’s just a fun day to help these kids forget about their pain and their problems," said Evans. "Some of these kids are scarred for life, some quite significantly, and a lot of the money we raise will go to these kids."

Whistler’s own team will lead off the tournament today (Friday, April 2) with a game against Delta at 1 p.m. They also have games at 9:45 a.m. and 3 p.m on Saturday. The top four teams will move into the semi-finals, with games starting at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday. The finals take place at 11:30 a.m.

As well as Delta, the competition includes firefighters from Abbotsford, Surrey, North Vancouver, Victoria, Nanaimo, Saanich, Campbell River and Burnaby.

Evans is inviting the community to come out and watch some hockey, take part in the various activities, and donate to a worthy cause. The list of available draw prizes includes a retro Team Canada jersey, two nights at the Westin Resort and Spa, a fly fishing trip, a tour with Whistler ATV, and some limited edition prints provided by the B.C. Burn Fund.

The event is sponsored by Backwoods Brewery, Moe Joe’s, Sportstop, Whistler Flyfishing, the RMOW and local newspapers.

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