British Columbia

'Ridiculous' pot prize raffled to 8-year-old hockey player angers ex-RCMP granddad

An 8-year-old from Grande Prairie, Alta., won a hockey raffle, but his parents won't let him keep the cannabis-filled prize. His grandfather says drugs and kids hockey are a bad mix.

He thought he'd won $200-worth of stuff but dad told him he couldn't keep it because it was 'bad drugs'

The prize package raffled by the minor hockey association included products infused with cannabis. (Keith Redl)

After Keith Redl's eight-year-old grandson put in a ticket to bid on a raffle prize at a Dawson Creek, B.C., hockey tournament over the weekend, he was excited when he won the $200 goodie basket.

The boy from Grande Prairie, Alta.,  was given $10 worth of raffle tickets to bid on prizes offered on the raffle tables.

He picked a prize pictured in a photograph and put his ticket in the bag to try to win it.

Flavours on the product labels like "chocolate fondue " and "vanilla chai " caught his eye, but he missed the large pot leaf insignia and THC labels on each product inside the prize basket.

Redl says the grade-schooler thought he'd won $200 worth of treats, but the treats were cannabis-infused edibles and paraphernalia, including a colourful pipe and lighter.

Redl was incensed. He says cannabis products have no place at a raffle for young hockey players, despite the fact that alcohol is often raffled at such events.

Keith Redl says his grandson won $200 worth of cannabis-infused and -inspired products, including spearmint chillers and fruity berry tea. The boy thought they were child-friendly treats, despite the labels. (Keith Redl)

He said the child's father, who took him to the Dawson Creek tournament, had to tell the boy he could not keep his win because it was "bad drugs."

"And he asked why would they have 'bad drugs' at a hockey tournament," said Redl, a retired RCMP officer and devoted grandfather who lives in Grande Prairie.

Drugs and kids sports: bad mix

Redl complained to the Dawson Creek Minor Hockey Association.

"I couldn't believe it. There's not an international sporting event in the world that allows you to have marijuana in your system, yet we are promoting it at an eight-year-old kids hockey tournament? It's ludicrous," said Redl.

"What kind of message are we sending to eight-year-old kids that it's fine to mix drugs and sports?"

The Redls acknowledged that it's common for wine or alcohol to be raffled of at sports tournaments, but in her mind that's different.

"Everybody is [saying], 'Oh, what's the big deal, it's just like a basket of wine,' but mostly I've found at other tournaments there's usually a bunch of hockey moms watching those prizes. They are probably keeping an eye on them," said the raffle winner's grandmother Laura Redl. 

In a statement, the association said the basket of cannabis products was a donated prize, represented by a photograph and a list of what was included on the raffle table. It was labelled that it was for adults, and the winner had to prove they were 19 or older upon delivery.

"It was not our intention to upset any of the attendees at the event, and we apologize for anyone who was offended by the prize," the statement reads.

The statement notes that the cannabis products were not restricted or illegal.

But Redl is unsatisfied.

When he got a call from the association president on Sunday, he urged him to stop offering cannabis prizes at future tournaments.

"You can't associate drugs with kids and sports," he said

When the young boy picked a raffle prize he saw the flavours and thought he'd won some treats, not cannabis-infused products. (Keith Redl)

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Yvette Brend is a Vancouver journalist. Yvette.Brend@cbc.ca or on Twitter or Instagram @ybrend

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