Fowler, Great Park Ice host C4Kids Ball Hockey Bonanza
Even under a blazing sun, Cam Fowler managed to keep his cool.
Sweat started to bead just beneath the bill of his Ducks hat, and the back of his gray T-shirt began to speckle as the ambient temperature rose above the 90-degree mark. But no sort of heat was going to bring him down.
Not on this day.
Standing in the parking lot of Great Park Ice on a recent Saturday afternoon, Fowler and his wife, Jasmine, looked out at the sprawling scene – four street hockey rinks, 16 teams and upwards of 80-plus kids.
This was the inaugural C4Kids Ball Hockey Bonanza.
It started out as an idea, one that spawned from his days playing street hockey as a kid in Michigan.
“Really, once we started C4Kids, it was one of the first things I thought about,” Fowler said. “One of the best memories I have as a kid was playing in a local street hockey tournament. It was pretty informal, but it was very competitive and a lot of fun. I thought this would be a great way to get some kids around here involved and playing.”
All participants in the complimentary tournament received a C4Kids Ball Hockey Bonanza reversible jersey and commemorative C4Kids hockey stick.
In 2018, the Fowlers founded C4Kids, a program that provides youth with opportunities to learn, play and love hockey.
Giving back to the local community means a lot to the Fowlers, who have close ties to Orange County. Fowler has spent his entire NHL career here after the Ducks selected him in the first round of the 2010 NHL Draft.
“For a long time now, Cam and I have been talking about getting more involved in the community,” Jasmine said. “The community does a lot for the Ducks, and they’ve welcomed us over the last couple of years. It means a lot for us to be able to give back.”
Trinity Murdock strapped on her shin guards and waited patiently for her first game on the blacktop. She was one of the participants in the C4Kids Ball Hockey Bonanza, and this was an all-new experience for her.
“I haven’t really done anything like this except for soccer, but that’s not really like hockey,” Trinity says. “Hockey is really fun. It’s been very cool. I like it.”
“The Ducks came out to her school and offered the Learn to Play program,” added Trinity’s mother, Laura. “She started in May with Learn to Play, and then she went to the Little Ducks program. She’s been doing hockey initiation. The Ducks sent me a notice about this opportunity. She hasn’t had the chance to play a real game. She’s loving it. She loves hockey.
“We need people like (Cam and Jasmine), otherwise these types of programs don’t exist. If they hadn’t done this, we wouldn’t be here today and Trinity wouldn’t have this opportunity. It means a lot to me when players come out and show support for the sport. It’s opportunities the kids see.”
The Fowlers are thankful for the work put in behind the scenes and hope this can become an annual event.
“The setup, the amount of support and help we’ve had to do this, it’s not just Jasmine and I,” Fowler said. “There are a lot of logistics and details that go into a tournament like this. We wanted it to be a good number of people. We settled on a specific number of players just to run a great tournament so that everyone had the chance to play at least three games.”
The winners of the tournament – Team Ritchie (12U) and Team Lindholm (10U) – were recognized at an awards ceremony following the event with each player receiving a trophy and hat. They also received suite tickets to a Ducks regular-season home game this season, courtesy of C4Kids.
Jasmine knows how much this means to Cam by just looking at his face.
“This is like the best day of his life, are you kidding me?” she said with a laugh. “If only he could be out there playing with the kids. He’s the biggest fun spirit of all time. That’s what I love about him.”
— THE RINKS Staff
(Dec. 4, 2019)