Every year at the Wapella rink there’s a hockey tournament held in honour of Dakota Holloway.
Holloway died at the age of 20, but his memory lives on through the tournament.
This year was supposed to be the seventh annual Dakota Holloway Memorial Hockey Tournament, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the tournament wasn’t able to happen.
Usually it’s a two-day tournament consisting of eight teams playing three-on-three hockey with a pancake breakfast on the Saturday morning and a roast beef dinner on the Saturday night, as well as a silent auction and shootout calcutta.
The tournament raises funds for a $500 scholarship in Holloway’s name and the rest of the proceeds go towards the Wapella rink.
The scholarship goes annually to a Wapella resident attending post-secondary school.
Previous years’ tournaments have raised at least $6,500 and as much as $9,300—spots in the tournament fill up quickly every year due to its popularity in the community. The previous six years of the tournament have combined to raise over $40,000.
A plaque within the rink honouring Holloway reads, “funds donated from the tournament have been dedicated to improvements to the rink, where Dakota spent countless hours playing hockey with his friends and family. Missed dearly and never forgotten…”
Holloway was known for his passion for hockey, and his family says he spent all his free time at the rink, that’s why it’s the focus of keeping his memory alive.
“The fundraiser is an important part of remembering Dakota’s passion for hockey and keeping the community connected,” said Allan Holloway.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic leading to the cancellation of the hockey tournament, the organizers still wanted to award the scholarship in Dakota’s name this year.
“Obviously we weren’t able to do the tournament because of Covid restrictions, but it was important for us to still give a scholarship out,” said Holloway.
On December 28, Allan Holloway awarded the $500 scholarship to Ashley Holloway, Dakota’s cousin.
“It’s nice to be able to award the scholarship to a member of the family this year,” said Holloway. “We’re hoping to increase the scholarship to $1,000 in the coming years.”
Holloway’s sister, Afton Crumly, is one of the organizers and she was pleased they were still able to go forward with the scholarship even if there’s no tournament this year.
“We usually have a little bit of money we keep for startup costs each year so we still had some of that left over,” said Crumly.
“So we were unsure if we’d be sitting on it next year or be able to have another tournament so we just decided that since we’d still have money to start up next year then we might as well still hand out the scholarship and have enough money for next year as well if we’re still unable to hold a tournament. We still wanted to keep it known and talked about.”
Getting to see the scholarship go to a member of the family is something Crumly thinks Dakota would be happy to see.
“It’s very cool that it’s going to a family member,” said Crumly. “Ashley’s older brother Riley was really good friends with one of our brothers so our families have always been really close. We just let the school randomly pick a scholarship winner each year so it was a really big surprise to everybody when they picked Ashley. It kind of touched everybody’s hearts a little bit because Dakota knew her very well and I think he would be quite happy that she was the one who got it this year.”
The Covid-19 restrictions stopped the tournament from happening this year, but the organizers are hopeful it will return as soon as possible.
“Brandon Munro is the one who came up with the idea and he’s totally like, ‘we can’t do this year, but we’ll be ready to go for next year.’ You always worry with these things that it might die off and people won’t remember,” said Crumly. “That’s why we wanted to make sure we did the scholarship.”
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