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Column: Baldwin-Buffett hockey honouring cousins Feb. 2-3

Dave White
Dave White - The Western Star

Organizers, players and fans from near and far come gathering next weekend glad to be a part of it, celebrating two late hockey heroes yet living on among them.

Mark Baldwin's and Tommy Buffett's respective No. 99 Kings and No. 4 Bruins jerseys hang retired in tribute from the rafters of Marshall Moores Arena in Coxs Cove.

Their presence also abides in the annual community — and corporate-sponsored —memorial tournament there and a matching pair of Templeton Academy scholarships given in their names that the annual event supports.

Pending continued winter cold needed to keep the Moores naturally iced rink hard and safe for play, the six-team tournament gets under way next Friday with official opening ceremonies at 6:30 p.m. with honoured members of the Baldwin and Buffett families participating.

Good friends, avid competitors on the ice and strong backers of the local stadium and its programs, Mark Baldwin, who lost his life at age 19 in a 2002 Alberta car accident, and Buffett, who would die of cancer in 2012 at the age of 35, are remembered for their love of the sport and a commitment to community projects.

Indeed, it was Buffett who founded, organized and staged the original Mark Baldwin Memorial Hockey tournament in honour of his hockey-loving cousin in 2005. Tommy was unable to fulfill his commitment to the event as he battled illness in 2012.

Meanwhile, another cousin, Tracey Murrin-Loder, and her life partner Perry Sheppard — also a community recreation leader and now deputy mayor of Cox's Cove — stand honoured to manage the tournament after Tommy's passing.

With the help of other loyal volunteers in the six years since, they've prepared the ice, organized tournament rules and schedules and done on-ice officiating, among other things, as well leading related other event that add to its fundraising capacity.

Round-robin play in two competition pools begins at 7 p.m. that evening with Rick's Crew, the 2016 tournament winners, taking on the defending champions, Tommy's Boys, formerly Buffett's Young Guns, in the first Pool A match.

The other team in Pool A are The Bog Boys. They meet Rick's Crew in their opener at 10 p.m. Friday.

In Pool B, Howard White's Boys play the south Bay of Islands Luxury Limos in the second tournament game at 8:30 p.m. that Friday.

Island Roofing is the other team in Pool B.

The Roofing crew plays both its round-robin games on Saturday as the dual round robins wind down, deciding the order of competition for the afternoon's crossover semifinals, when the first place Pool A team plays the second-finishing team in Pool B, and with the top team in Pool B playing the second-place team in Pool A.

Fun'raisers set

The playoff final for the MB-TB Memorial Championship Trophy pits the semfinal winners against one another in a 6:30 start that evening. The title match, bearing a $2 cost of admission, is the only game ticketed at the gate.

Other fundraising elements of the tournament include an hospitality suite, chuck-a-puck lotteries, 50-50 draws and an ever-popular and exciting one-on-one shootout competition among registered players, the latter of which is set for 1:30 p.m. before the semifinals begin.

In addition to the championship trophy, awards will also be presented to the tournament's most valuable player and most sportsmanlike players, as well as the winning sniper and top goaltender in the shootout event.

A tournament ending music and dance event closes out the weekend that night.

Dave White welcomes your Bay of Islands news and events information at 660-5712, or email at: bayofislands2008@gmail.com.

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