Give Blood Play Hockey event going strong in 13th year
It’s business as usual for the 13th annual Give Blood Play Hockey charity inline hockey tournament, which means the focus is raising money for research to eradicate pediatric cancer.
“Our goal is to raise $165,000-plus this year,” tournament co-founder Mary Quayle Korus said. “We are currently accepting sponsorships for this year’s event and are calling for in-kind donations to fuel our silent auctions and are always in need of volunteers.”
The annual event remains one of the largest hockey tournaments of the year in Southern California. This year’s dates are Oct. 25-27 at The Rinks-Irvine Inline.
Registration is currently open. All fees must be paid in full by Oct. 7.
To date, the event has raised $1,077,441 in monetary donations to Children’s Hospital of Orange County, its primary beneficiary, and collected 3,565 pints of blood. While last year’s event reached a milestone by passing the $1 million figure in donations, this year’s 13th annual event will be significant in its own right.
Thirteen is the jersey number of Casey Strale, an avid youth roller and ice player who brought awareness to the event’s cause through his own battle with cancer.
“We are calling this our Casey Year,” Korus said.
Casey squarely helped place the tournament’s focus on pediatric cancer while battling a rare form of cancer called adrenal cortical carcinoma. He served as the event’s ambassador while courageously fighting the terrible disease.
However, he eventually lost his battle at age 16. His impact through the GBPH tournament was major. More than 1,000 members of the Southern California hockey community attended his celebration of life service in July 2013 at the Irvine Inline facility. The importance of the connection is not lost on the Strale family, in particular.
“At year No. 13 of Give Blood Play Hockey, I am excited to be there honoring my brother – it was his favorite event and this is a special year since 13 was his number,” Kyle Strale said. “In memory of Casey, CS13 Supply will be showcasing our great hockey designs (on apparel items). Our goal with our brand is to carry on Casey’s legacy and to give back. We are committed to helping find a cure for ACC.”
Casey and Kyle’s parents, Traci and Chris Strale, expressed similar sentiments.
“Chris and I have been extremely blessed and honored to be a part of Give Blood Play Hockey since the Quayles first approached us in 2009,” Traci Strale said. “Casey was able to attend and play at the event from 2010 to 2012 and he always had a massive smile on his face. He loved playing hockey, always representing No. 13.
“We are excited that year No. 13 will be played in Casey’s memory. We honor Casey everyday, but when we are at The Rinks-Irvine Inline, we are a little closer to him because Give Blood Play Hockey was his first love and we know he is there.”
Blood donations remain a driving force behind the GBPH event. According to Korus, this year’s tournament holds special importance.
“We are we striving to exceed 500 pints,” she said. “It is a huge goal and we need everyone to give to help us get there. Five hundred pints of blood has the potential to save or impact 1,500 people. We are encouraging all donors to bring a friend and to spread the word.”
Last year’s event collected 497 pints.
Korus said this year’s tournament slogan is “Save the Humans.”
Teams will vie for the annual Blood Cup on the rink. Divisions range from 8U through adult, including a pro division. Food vendors and live entertainment will round out the event’s festive carnival-like atmosphere.
The Rinks-Irvine is located at 3150 Barranca Parkway in Irvine.
For more information, visit www.givebloodplayhockey.org or the organization’s Facebook page.
— Phillip Brents
(Sept. 25, 2019)