• By: Sofia Donato

Ottawa lawyers help make charity non-tournament a success 

Above: The Lawyers for Kids Charity Hockey Tournament 2019 raised $33, 500 for the Ottawa YMCA-YWCA.

Each year, the YMCA-YWCA of the Nation’s Capital Region hosts several fundraising events to help support programs and services that make a meaningful difference in the lives of children, youth and families in the community. Partnering with a variety of initiatives and companies, the YMCA aspires to help those in need to change their lives for the better. 
Unfortunately, many events have been placed on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic to ensure the safety of Canadians. The Lawyers for Kids Charity Hockey Tournament, presented by PBC Group, is one of the many events that have been closed due to the virus. 
“When we realized the tournament was likely to be cancelled, we rallied together and reminded ourselves that the spirit of the event is not primarily to play hockey, but to give back to the community,” says Cale Harrison, committee chair for the Lawyers for Kids Charity Hockey Tournament. 
Despite the cancellation of the 2020 tournament, the YMCA-YWCA is humbled and pleased to announce that thanks to the dedicated participants, sponsors, and organizers who stepped forward with true community spirit, $25,700 was raised without a single puck being dropped, and will be directed to support Y programs and services needed in our community during the COVID-19 pandemic. 
“Seeing the show of support from our participants, donors, and sponsors was not only moving, it was truly meaningful because the Y has been forced to close many of their revenue-generating programs. Despite this, their doors remain open as an essential service for housing residents, and employment and newcomer Information centres continue to provide critical community support, virtually,” says Harrison. 

In tribute to former Y Board Member and Ottawa lawyer, Jim O’Grady, friends created a memorial hockey tournament. Now ten years on, the tournament consistently sells out and is attended by many law firms, bringing together lawyers, their colleagues, and other allied professionals in the Ottawa legal community. A notable partner and proud supporter of the YMCA for the past 10 years, the Lawyers for Kids Charity Hockey Tournament has raised an incredible $250,000 for vital Y programs, such as the After School Kids Program.  
“This is a highlight event for us at McMillan LLP,” says tournament participant and McMillan LLP Lawyer, Martin Thompson. “We always enjoy the camaraderie, the competition and honouring one of our own who gave so much of his time to the Y and its programs. It allows us to give back and help those within our community who are most in need. While we may not have 
been able to physically support the cause this year, there was never a doubt in my mind that the Ottawa firms would join forces and continue to support this important cause.” Despite the circumstances, YMCA is committed to supporting the local community, now more than ever.  
“This heartening display of generosity demonstrates that our donor community is aware of and responding to the impact that COVID-19 is having on charities such as the Y”, says Bob Gallagher, President and CEO of the YMCA-YWCA of the National Capital Region. “We are exceptionally grateful for their ongoing support during these challenging times.”