Families, friends and former teammates gathered for the annual Parker Tobin and Conner Lukan Memorial Games at the Tri Leisure Centre in Spruce Grove, Aug. 29 and Sept. 5.
Since 2017, the Parkland Athletic Club (PAC) Saints have laced up their skates for the annual hockey games, to help raise funds for the Parker Tobin Memorial Foundation and the Conner Lukan Memorial Foundation. Both memorial games showcase the top PAC Saints prospects from the U15AAA tryouts (Tobin Memorial Game) and top prospects from the U16AAA tryouts (Lukan Memorial Game).
Parker Tobin, from Stony Plain and Conner Lukan from Slave Lake, were two of the 16 Humboldt Broncos team members that died in a tragic bus crash in Saskatchewan on April 6, 2016. Both players were an important part of the PAC Saints organization.
“Both of those young men played for our club. Both of the memorial funds do different things but both give back to the community,” said Tom Tremain, operations director for the PAC Saints.“These games are a way to honour these two young men that were tragically lost. It’s a privilege for us to do it.”
Team Green was victorious over Team Yellow in the Parker Tobin Memorial Game with a 6-5 shootout win, while Team Yellow earned a 4-3 overtime victory in the Conner Lukan Memorial Game.
Donations and sponsorship for the memorial games this year included The Spruce Grove Saints, The Whitecourt Wolverines, Spruce Grove Minor Hockey, Stony Plain Minor Hockey, Trevor Carter Goaltending, and True Grit Hockey.
“We were fortunate that all these partners came together to give money for these games,” said Tremain. “With Parker Tobin, his fund mostly goes to goalies and the Conner Lukan fund goes towards minor hockey in Slave Lake and other initiatives in Slave Lake. We’re very lucky that those two families attend, participate and allow us to remember those kids.”
Ed and Rhonda Tobin were in Spruce Grove for the Parker Tobin Memorial Game on Aug.29, as they have been every year since the tragic bus crash.
“For us, it’s just a wonderful way to remember Parker and to be part of something wonderful for the kids as well,” said Rhonda Tobin. “We always have an opportunity to see some of his former teammates in the building and then all the new kids.”
Tobin spoke of how the Parker Tobin Memorial Foundation has helped young aspiring goaltenders and hockey players from across the region. She said they are more than happy to contribute, give back and help families.
“We want to support players through paying for their team fees so they can play, and helping out families that are maybe going through some tough times,” said Tobin. “We’ve also given scholarships for kids to do goaltender training, for athletic training over the summer and we’ve given some educational scholarships as well through Parker’s school, Composite Memorial High School where he graduated.”
The annual memorial game also has special meaning for the Tobins because it provides young hockey players a chance to contribute and continue Parker Tobin’s legacy.
“Some of the kids won’t make the team today, but we hope that they leave still feeling grateful for the opportunity to play here and for the opportunity to be a part of something that we think is very special,” said Tobin.