It was a great night of fun, community spirit and remembrance, with a dash of silliness thrown in for good measure.
Billed as the “Ugly Sweater Night” it featured some of the most garish Christmas sweaters one will ever hope to see — or perhaps not to see.
Hosted by Aldergrove Minor Hockey Association (AMHA) on Dec. 18 at Aldergrove Arena, it centered around a pair of midget hockey games but also served to raise awareness of good sportsmanship as well as raise food and funds for the Coleton Claus charity. There was also some Christmas cheer spread with a generous sharing of baked Christmas goodies.
In the first game of the night Aldergrove Midget A1 defeated Mission Midget A1, 3-2. The second game featured Aldergrove Midget A2 versus Ridge Meadows A3, a 7-1 win for the visitors.
A “Coleton Claus” food drive filled a hockey net in memory of the late Coleton Nelson.
The night also promoted BC Hockey’s brand new program called Sportsmanship Starts in the Stands. It is a program designed to remind fans that hockey is a game to be enjoyed by all.
The Aldergrove Midget A1 Bruins embrace this program and encourage excellent sportsmanship. The joke line of the night was, “If it gets too stressful to watch, have a shortbread!”
The Ugly Sweater Contest was just a fun thing to do in the stands to bring out the festive spirit. Debi Jo Shelvey, Monty Ivison, Emma Carter and Eric Sharman each won a beautiful poinsettia for their winning sweaters.
In a “walk down memory lane” all players involved in the first game made pre-recorded messages and their favourite memories of Christmas were announced over the loudspeaker. Favourites ranged from opening stockings, enjoying board games with family, watching Christmas movies, and of course, turkey dinner with Mom’s stuffing.
“It was a great night, lots of fun was had by all, thanks to all the elves who helped make this night a success,” said event co-organizer Rhonda Bencze.
COLETON CLAUS GROWS
The goods raised at the event go to the “Coleton Claus” cause to honour Coleton Nelson’s memory. He’s the 12-year-old Aldergrove boy killed in a car crash in 2011. There’s also a peewee hockey tournament hosted by AMHA each year in his memory.
Coleton’s mother, Brenda, has been organizing the Coleton Claus program for the past three years. Every year she delivers carloads of gifts and food to families in need in the community, just in time for Christmas.
It started out three years ago when Brenda and her family delivered Christmas food and gifts to one family.
“A friend said I should do fundraisers and help more families in Coleton’s memory, and another friend said I should call it Coleton Claus,” said Brenda.
“So I set a goal of helping five families last Christmas and hit seven.
“This year I set a goal of 10 families and hit 15. They’re pretty spoiled too; I deliver three months’ of food plus gifts, everything on their lists and then some. It’s so overwhelming,” said Brenda.
The Coleton Claus families are referred to Brenda by the Abbotsford Christmas Bureau, and the families are appreciative of the kindnesses.
Brenda said, “(I) just received this message from one of the 12 year old boys today. If I don’t receive another Christmas present this year I am A-OK with that. I just received the best one of all.”
Ethan wrote: “Thank you so much for everything. Because of what you did I started to cry when you left because I was so happy and I hope your son has found peace… also my mom put the photo of Coleton in between the arms of the angel on our tree because he is an angel watching over all of us… thanks again, you have made my Christmas.”
An Angel’s Wish
By BRENDA LEE
Please don’t cry, momI’ve not gone far,I’m with you now
Wherever you are.
We have a special bond,you and I,
One so strong, death cannot deny.
Just close your eyes and feel your heart
You see, mom? We’re never apart.
You’re letting me shine,
you’re living for two
Only a love this strong
can others feel too.
When you want to hide
and you need to run,
I’m giving you strength
to keep moving on.
Forever and ever, your baby I’ll be
I can hear you, mom, just pray for me.
I’m happy here, in time you’ll know,
The signs I give, show I’ve never let go
So one day, mom, when the time is right,
I’ll be waiting for you just beyond the light.
You will smile once more, you will feel no pain,
You will hold my hand once again.
I love you, mom, so please be strong
I’m here for you, I’ve never been gone.