The Knights of Columbus Hockey Club is the only organized city-wide hockey league in Edmonton. It has young hockey players from ages four to 17 years. Photo courtesy of KC Hockey Club

Knights of Columbus hockey empowers Edmonton youth

By  Declan Riley, Youth Speak News
  • November 22, 2018

Bruce Lamer has carved a career out of the sport he loves, and he says he owes much of it to the Knights of Columbus. 

Lamer joined the Knights of Columbus Hockey Club at St. Angela’s Parish at the age of five in 1968. He played in the KC hockey program throughout his entire minor hockey experience, including AA Bantam with the Barons and the KC Juvenile Program.

Lamer said the KC league was a great experience because it combined two things he was most passionate about. 

“The greatest combination of faith and sports is praying for a win and then actually getting one,” he said. 

When he graduated from the program in 1980, he decided to come back as a coach before moving on to coaching the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) Ooks men’s program and then later the Golden Bears at University of Alberta where he won several championships.

Lamer, 55, now works as a video coach for the Golden Bears, but he still keeps close ties with the KC league. 

“Giving back to the Knights of Columbus hockey program is very important for me,” he said. “Helping the youth and working as a Knight, while still doing something hockey-related is great.”

The KC Hockey Club is the only organized city-wide hockey league in the City of Edmonton. Divisions range from Initiation (ages four to six) to Midget AAA (ages 15-17). It was founded in 1952 on the belief that sports teach children lessons that help them develop into strong athletes and adults with even stronger character. 

The program taught players to a be a part of a team, along with sportsmanship and the values that come with sports and success: hard work, dedication, commitment and selflessness.

One of the most prominent alumni of the program is former NHL player Mark Messier. He played for 25 years, first with the Edmonton Oilers alongside Wayne Gretzky, then with the New York Rangers and the Vancouver Canucks.

St. Alphonsus Parish in Edmonton is where it all began for KC Hockey. In 1952, the parish decided to create a small hockey league to play some exhibition games. 

From there, the idea grew and parishes across the Edmonton archdiocese soon had their own teams sponsored by local community groups and the Knights of Columbus.

“Ultimately watching the kids succeed is the most rewarding part of this program,” said Bruce Fitzpatrick, president of operations at the KC hockey program. 

Sixty-five years later, Fitzpatrick said the hockey program has changed slightly from the initial structure developed at St. Alphonsus, but still stays true to the Catholic roots. 

The league is now open to the wider community and not just Catholics. All members of the board of directors are still required by the program’s bylaws to be a Knight of Columbus, instilling Catholic values and involvement in the areas of decision making for the program. 

Faith and hockey have started to become entwined for many Christian players and coaches, said Kirkpatrick. Whether it be saying a prayer in between periods of a big game or praying to the Lord to understand the Humboldt tragedy, the Lord is involved.

“We take pride in helping disadvantaged kids play hockey,” said Fitzpatrick. 

(Riley, 23, is a third-year journalism student at MacEwan University in Edmonton, Alta.)

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