The third annual Ryan Donaldson Memorial Hockey hit the ice this weekend at the Langley Sportsplex. The tournament is organized by his parents Doug and Dana Donaldson and his sister Kirsten Donaldson. Money raised goes to the Canadian Mental Health Association. Dan Ferguson Langley Times

Playing in Ryan’s memory

Third annual Langley hockey tournament raises $15,000

In their third year, the Ryan Donaldson Memorial Hockey Tournament has tripled what they raised in year one.

More than $15,000 was raised over the weekend as the Donaldson family — parents Doug and Dana and their daughter Kirsten — hosted the third annual event in honour of Ryan Donaldson.

Donaldson took his own life in 2014 after battling depression and concussions.

See: Remembering Ryan

To honour the Langley teen’s memory, his family started the memorial hockey tournament as a way to raise awareness about mental health and concussions.

One hundred players hit the ice on Saturday and Sunday at the Langley Sportsplex.

The numbers were the same as they were in 2016 but down by about half from the inaugural tournament.

“The one thing I have learned is that it is not the quantity but the quality that counts,” Kirsten Donaldson said. “Even with less teams, we were able to raise more money last year than we did the first (year) and in March, we were able to donate $5,000 to the Canadian Mental Health Association, while still being able to afford all tournament costs this year prior to registration and donations.”

“Every year we are overwhelmed by the generosity and support of our hockey community. We just want to thank every person who was involved — no matter how small they felt their role was, it was imperative to our success and words cannot express our gratitude.”

Many of the players are friends and former teammates of Ryan’s.

“(This gives) all of Ryan’s friends the opportunity to take time out of their busy lives to get together, play a sport they love, have some fun and share the fun, positive memories of Ryan that they have,” Donaldson said.

“Hearing how much they enjoy and look forward to the weekend is a great reminder of why we keep doing it.

“I think the biggest reward, though, is simply letting my brother’s legacy continue on and assisting him in helping others even in his death.”

“There are people who are completely uninvolved in the hockey community who stop me to talk about the tournament and our goals, which is a very humbling experience,” Donaldson said.

“Just knowing that we are even making a small impact on our community has to be one of the most rewarding things.”