LOOKING TO REPEAT - The Tatsebuds Ron Nolan

Rotary Hockey Draft a success despite economy

The event brings local community members together to raise funds for the Sylvan Lake Rotary Club by entering a team of NHL players.

It’s fantasy draft season.

Fantasy sports, once relegated to smoky back-rooms has now become a sensation due to the popularization of online fantasy and betting sites. Thanks to this growth in popularity, the Rotary Hockey Draft has been going strong for seven years.

The event brings local community members together to raise funds for the Sylvan Lake Rotary Club by entering a team of NHL players into the competition to compete for the Rotary Cup. The idea for the event came from north of Sylvan Lake, according to Draft Co-Chair and Rotary Club Member, Bonnie Ganske.

“We actually stole it from the Wetaskawin Rotary Club,” she said. “They have done it successfully for many years, so we took their model and we like to think we improved on it. It has been working really well for us.”

The event this year featured 15 teams, which is down from the usual 20-22 the draft usually gets. The draft does have solid year-by-year supporters according to Ganske.

“We have some of our anchor teams with us there are 10-12 teams that have supported us right from the beginning,” she said.

The draft is selected by random draw and 23 players are selected to compete against each other throughout the NHL season. Points are tabulated online, meaning team members do not need to constantly keep track of their own points. The evening also featured a raffle, silent auction and a live auction with all proceeds going to support the many projects of the Rotary Club.

“The funds go to all the projects that the Rotary supports in our community,” Ganske said. “They support a lot of projects like “The Get Real Bullying Program”, breakfast programs, scholarships for high school students as well as a seniors Christmas lunch.

“Rotary also accomplished building the lighthouse this year and we have an international component as well where we do water wells and women’s programs in Guatemala for example,” she added.

Ganske was very thankful for the support from those who made it out to this year’s draft.

“We are so appreciative for the support that the community gives us because we know the economy is down,” she said. “We don’t have as many teams, but the business community has been really supportive of us by donating auction items. We hope to continue to make this event a success in support of the good work of Rotary.”

reporter@sylvanlakenew.com