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Home Sports Inaugural Ron Gunville Memorial Tournament underway in Prince Albert

Inaugural Ron Gunville Memorial Tournament underway in Prince Albert

Inaugural Ron Gunville Memorial Tournament underway in Prince Albert
Captains from the Prince Albert Vulcans and Indigenous Sports Academy Eagles shake hands with members of Ron Gunville’s family after a ceremonial puck drop. -- Kyle Kosowan/Daily Herald

The first annual Ron Gunville Memorial Tournament kicked off on Friday at Kinsmen Arena.

The tournament was named in Gunville’s honour, as he passed away on December 11, 2018. For Ron’s wife, Sherry, it was an emotional day.

“Hockey was his passion,” Sherry said. “He just loved the game. It’s pretty humbling, and Ron would be very humbled to have this honour.”

Sherry was beyond happy to have this tournament become a reality in Prince Albert, and was thankful for everyone involved making it a success.

“It means a lot for all the people that made this happen,” she said. “Shawn Phaneuf (head coach of the Prince Albert Vulcans) was a huge part of it. Curtis Hunt with the Raiders and the Raiders organization and everyone else who played a part in this, it means a lot to us, and it would mean the world to him.”

A pregame ceremony was held before puck drop between the Prince Albert Vulcans and Indigenous Sports Academy Eagles. Members of Ron’s family took to the ice and were honoured, before Dana Dirks, a long time friend of Ron, took to the ice to deliver some words.

For Dirks, this tournament is more than hockey. It’s about spreading the word of Ron’s legacy.

“This is a pretty big deal,” Dirks said. “It’s a culmination of all of Ron’s work. He was taken too soon and all the great things he did in the community through coaching, scouting, and playing won’t be forgotten.

“It’s nice that you can see something like this given back to someone who really deserved it.”

Dirks also announced a $1,000 scholarship that his company, Caribou Transport Ltd. would be presenting in Gunville’s memory.

Dana Dirks (left) delivers a speech before the first annual Ron Gunville Memorial tournament Friday at Kinsmen Arena. — Kyle Kosowan/Daily Herald

Dirks remembered Gunville as a great friend of many years, first as a teammate on the ice, and then in the front office.

“We were great friends,” Dirks said. “We travelled all over the western provinces together as teammates, and then it all came back and went full circle for us as scouts for the Raiders.

Scouting was something we talked about lots before we worked together. He got the job as director of personnel and phoned me right away and said ‘I want you on my staff’. We talked about wanting to bring a championship to Prince Albert, and thankfully we were able to do that before it was too late. It’s just fantastic to be a part of this. It’s awesome.”

Dirks said Gunville played a large role in Prince Albert hockey, but remained a friendly and respected person during the entire time.

“You’re not going to find a better guy in the hockey world than he was,” Dirks added. “He was probably the most well respected guy in the WHL and in general. He was always there shaking hands and always having a laugh with everybody, no matter who you were or how long you were in the scouting field. He was always the first one there to chat with you and give you any help that you needed.

“This is a really big deal for him, his family, and his legacy. I’m really happy to be a part of this, and very thankful that someone was able to pull this off in Ron’s name. It’s very deserving.”

The tournament will be at Kinsmen Arena in Prince Albert, ending on Sunday.