A community is remembering the life of Luke Lavoie.
The local man's sudden passing had a profound impact on the town of Starbuck, says resident Tim Morison. To help with the grieving process he organized a charity hockey game.
"I figured if we got the guys out and play a game and talk about Luke it would ease the pain," he explains. "I have known Luke most of my life and have played hockey with him too... his passing was very hard on me and all of our friends, family, and community."
The event saw more than 100 people come out, raising $5,000 and awareness for the Mood Disorder of Manitoba Central Region, which has an office in Winkler.
"I thought this would be a perfect way to celebrate his memory with the community. Starbuck is a hockey centered town," Morison says. "The rink is always busy and we also have a hockey academy that gives more students the opportunity to learn and to tune up their hockey skills. Luke was raised in Starbuck, went to school in Starbuck and also attended the Hockey Academy. He was a talented hockey player and a lot of my memories are of us playing hockey.
Word spread fast on social media and soon 40 people of all ages took part on the ice, and more than 100 in the stands. The Lavoie family also came out to the game with Luke's two brothers playing in the game and his sister working the time box. The whole family was present on the ice for the ceremonial puck drop.
"It was a community effort," Morison says, adding they hope to make the game an annual event.