Amateur hockey players will take over the Easton Chiller this weekend in support of cystic fibrosis research.
A 16-team hockey tournament, which also features free public skating, a silent auction and a tournament for kids, is an annual event hosted by Make CF History.
Make CF History was founded in 2006 by Bexley resident Chad Eddy, who has two nieces diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. His goal is to raise $1 million for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation that will be used to find a cure for the genetic disease that the foundation estimates affects the lungs and digestive system of about 30,000 Americans.
Make CF history started as an online campaign to garner donations. When a donation is made, a digital rose is posted to the website in the donor's name. But three years ago, the hockey classic became its signature fundraiser.
"I've always wanted to do something for the cause to find a cure, and I've attended all the other events like walks and stair climbs, and I just wanted to do something more than just participate," Eddy said.
A hockey player and fan, Eddy was inspired to create the classic after playing in an alumni game in his hometown of Detroit.
"I just remember clear as day when I walked into the venue that day that I wanted to do something like that but for cystic fibrosis and finding a cure for CF," he said.
That year, he hosted the first hockey classic. Six teams took part and $11,000 was raised. In 2012, eight teams participated and $19,000 went toward the $1 million goal.
Compared to the previous tournaments, this year's goals of raising $50,000 and hosting 16 teams might seem ambitious. Eddy didn't let that stop him, though, and by changing the tournament's format, $36,000 has already been raised for the event, to be held June 7-9.
In previous years, teams paid a flat entrance fee that went toward the cause, but this time around, Eddy asked each player to raise at least $125.
"We have a handful of players who have raised $1,000 each and really gotten into the cause," Eddy said. "They get that this really has so much more to do with rallying our friends and family to become a part of this great cause than it is about hockey, so they've really embraced it."
The tournament includes teams from Detroit, Dayton, Cleveland and Bexley. The competitors have been paired based on skill level, from expert to novice. The Bexley team that has Mayor Ben Kessler on its roster is scheduled to take the ice at 7 p.m. Friday, June 7, and 8:45 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. Saturday, June 8.
All games are free and open to the public, but Saturday is the day everyone can get involved. From noon to 4 p.m., a silent auction featuring sports memorabilia and tickets will take place. From 1:45 to 3:45 p.m., the public is invited to skate for free, and Columbus Blue Jackets mascot Stinger will make an appearance during stick and puck ice time from 2 to 5:30 p.m. Donations for all activities will be accepted in lieu of the typical participation fees.
On Sunday, one of the Chiller's two ice rinks will be reserved for a Kids Charity Pond Hockey Tournament.
Eddy said his efforts have been geared toward the hockey tournament for the last few years, but his original goal of fundraising online and honoring donors with digital roses at MakeCFHistory.com is still up and running.
To learn more about the CF History Charity Hockey Classic and see a detailed schedule of events or to make a donation, visit www.thecharityclassic.blogspot.com.