The Ice Box in South Bend hosts the 14th annual "Hockey4Life" tournament

NOW: The Ice Box in South Bend hosts the 14th annual “Hockey4Life“ tournament

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Hockey for a cause, for more than a decade now, hundreds of hockey players from Michiana and beyond have gotten together to play the game that they love and raise money at the same time.

What started as a fundraiser for a fallen friend in 2008 has grown into a weekend-long tournament.

Administrator for Hockey4Life, Jack Basich, explained, "Unfortunately, we had one of our players pass away so we decided to raise money for his family. You know - after that it just stuck. We had such a good time. I mean you can’t beat it. Come for three days, have fun, eat food, and raise money for a worthwhile charity.”

From supporting one family, to more than 20, from 16 players on the ice, to 176, and with more than five-thousand pounds of food served to local food banks and charities along the way.

“I look at when we go to present the money to charities just to see their faces to see the reactions. It's pretty special. To see how it’s grown is special as well.”, Jack went on to add.

The hat-trick of charities on the receiving end of the funds raised this year are busy hands of Michiana – Dismas House and Heartland Animal Rescue.

Gary Tkaczyk, a tournament player, said, "Oh, yeah, goes to local charities. That’s the key you know where the moneys going, and you know how it’s being spent, and you can see it.”

Unlike some events, there's no specific number in mind when it comes to raising money, the focus is all on community.

Jack happily stated, “At the end of the day whatever you raise that’s a good thing, right? So, we try not to put burdens on how much we have to raise what we have to do it more about come have fun play game and help people the same time.”

No one was sent to the penalty box here, just a weekend-long tournament filled with fun, and people like Brian Jablonski who came all the way from Maryland to support his hometown.

Brian Jablonski, also a tournament player, explained, "I grew up here. This area has given me a lot throughout my life, and this is a great way for me to not only have a good time to playing hockey, play with my dad in games, but also give back to the community that I still love so much, and I still call home.”

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