British Columbia

Community rallies around peewee hockey team after $30K stolen from travel fund

A peewee hockey team from Cranbrook is off to Japan next week despite having $30,000 dollars allegedly stolen from the travel money it raised

The Kootenay ICE Friendship Team reports travel dollars misappropriated

'We are overwhelmed with gratitude from everyone’s generosity,' read a post on The Kootenay ICE Friendship Hockey Team's Facebook page following a rush of donations over the weekend (The Kootenay ICE Friendship Hockey Team/Facebook)

A peewee hockey team from Cranbrook is off to Japan next week, despite having $30,000 dollars allegedly stolen from travel money it raised.

The Kootenay ICE Friendship Hockey Team has been fundraising for almost two years to go to Hachinohe, Japan for a tournament April 27 to May 5, 2019.

The tournament is designed to foster friendship and fair play and the most goals scored doesn't necessarily determine the winner of a game.

That makes what happened next, ironic. The peewee team's travel co-ordinator, Crystal Kenyon, says it came as a huge shock last week when they were going over final bills and financial statements and discovered thousands of dollars missing.

"We were devastated and in shock. Nobody had any idea this was happening at all," said Kenyon.

Kenyon says almost a third of the $100,000 dollars they raised could not be accounted for.

Once the volunteer board realized the scope of the alleged theft, they went to the RCMP who initiated an investigation. Kenyon says they know who the suspect is but are not saying who that person is until the RCMP does its work.

In the meantime, word circulated via social media throughout the Cranbrook area and people stepped up with last minute donations to make up the shortfall.

On Sunday, the team posted a thank you to the community on its website that read:

"In 12 short hours, donations have been made & committed to our team of approximately $22,140.00. We are overwhelmed with gratitude from everyone's generosity," the post read.

Kenyon says the trip is back on. The 51 players, parents and coaches leave next Tuesday for Japan.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.