Thursday’s Nite of Champions gala was a bona fide home run for the Surrey-White Rock chapter of KidSport.
The sixth annual event – held at South Surrey’s Hazelmere Golf Course – raised $110,000 for the charity, which helps cover sports registration costs for young athletes whose families could not otherwise afford to play. Over the years, thousands of Surrey and White Rock youth have benefited from KidSport’s fundraising endeavours.
“That’s the most we’ve ever raised. Usually, we’re in that $90-95,000 range, but this year, everyone just took it to another level,” said Ronnie Paterson, president of KidSport’s Surrey-White Rock chapter.
“It’s such a great event, we always sellout, and quite frankly, it’s an easy sell for people because our community has always recognized the importance of sport.”
This year’s event was baseball-themed, with ballpark-style snacks and ball glove table centre pieces. As well, the White Rock All-Stars baseball team – just months removed from the summer’s successful run at the Little League World Series – were among the guests of honour, along with a pair of local Toronto Blue Jays’ prospects, White Rock’s Brayden Bouchey and Ladner’s Tom Robson.
Bouchey, a former member of the White Rock Tritons, spoke about his experiences playing with his hometown Vancouver Canadians this past summer – the team won a Northwest League championship – while also touching on his own experiences at the Little League World Series; he was a member of White Rock’s 2008 World Series squad, which, he noted with a smile, did not do nearly as well as this year’s All-Stars.
As in previous years, Hockey Night in Canada broadcaster Jim Hughson – a South Surrey resident – served as MC for the evening.
“Jim is just so passionate about our community and about our cause, and it’s largely because of him that (Nite of Champions) has become such a successful event,” Paterson said of the longtime host.