GLACE BAY â€” Catherine Ryan says although it's the 25th year for a hockey tournament named after her late husband, the emotional aspect of the event never fades.
© Sharon Montgomery-Dupe - Cape Breton Post
Catherine Ryan (left), wife of the late Vince Ryan of Donkin, chats with her daughter Kimberly Horne and Richie Warren, founder and chairperson of the 25th annual Vince Ryan Memorial Hockey Tournament, at the tournament office in the Cape Breton YMCA Enterprise Centre in Glace Bay. The tournament, which includes 130 teams this year, runs March 20-23.
"I'm on a high all weekend, it's very emotional afterwards having to say 'goodbye' to everyone," she said. "Through the tournament I meet people and hear stories from people who knew him and talk about how he played."
The late Ryan's daughters Kimberly Horne and Krista Ryan MacLean are playing in the tournament on the Screaming Sheagles team.
Kimberly said she enjoys particpating in the tournament which runs from March 20-23 in 11 local arenas.
"We are always meeting someone different," she said.
"This will be my third year playing in it. It's fun but very emotional."
Members of the Vince Ryan Memorial Hockey Tournament held a press conference Friday to announce the first European team to take part in the event this year, making the event now an international tournament.
Richie Warren, founder and tournament chair, said the tournament started 25 years ago through the established Devco Old-timers Hockey League. A decision was made to hold a tournament to benefit the local community and the Vince Ryan Tournament was born
"We needed a tournament name - someone we could honor. Vince Ryan had died about six months prior."
The tournament included eight teams and raised $1,000. Warren said they decided to give it to a scholarship at the former Donkin Morien High school, where Vince Ryan was from.
"Since we have raised $700,000 which we've given to more than 1100 scholarships which is fabulous."
He said despite the economy and people heading out west to work, there are 130 teams this year, the same as last year.
"Very few teams have been here since day one, so the tournament is always drawing new teams."
He said it is the biggest adult - men and women's hockey tournament in the world."