From Pond Hockey – To Ball Hockey, Braestone Winter Classic Pivots in Response to a Warm Winter.

The 3rd annual Braestone Winter Classic has pivoted in response to a milder than expected winter season. The unseasonably warm temperatures continue to be warmer than predicted, with no change in the long-range forecast, event organizers made the decision to pivot, to some dry land hockey action.

The ever-adaptable players will be trading skates for boots to kick off the tournament on Saturday, February 3, starting at 9:30 a.m. Come down and cheer on the teams as they play for the championship, and enjoy a festive atmosphere with a DJ, delicious food provided by The KTCHN, hot and cold beverages, a poutine truck and more.

If you can’t attend but would like to still support the even, please consider clicking the links below to check out the online auction, or make a donation.

We are so thankful to the event organizers, players and supporters who are adapting on the fly to continue supporting the RVH Foundation Keep Life Wild campaign, and the Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Centre.

Info you need to know:

  • Where: Braestone Club
  • When: February 3, 2024
  • Attendance is FREE for all participants
  • All funds raised support RVH’s Simcoe Muskoka Regional Cancer Program

About the Braestone Winter Classic

First imagined by Ted Markle, a Braestone resident, and cancer survivor, and Georgian International’s Jamie Massie, this tournament aims to bring the community together in support of cancer care at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre (RVH) in Barrie. In 2022, over 14,000 people from across Simcoe Muskoka received treatment at RVH’s cancer centre.

For Ted, supporting access to state of the art, specialized cancer care for the region’s residents is personal. Ted lives with non-Hodgkin lymphoma and receives treatment at RVH. His brother, Jeff Markle, was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer affecting his esophagus, stomach, and liver. Jeff passed from his disease two years ago and the Braestone Winter Classic was created in honour of his memory.

Ted Markle, (left in the white jersey) competes in the Braestone Winter Classic.

“My brother and I used to play hockey together as kids,” remembers Ted. “As adults, we lived far from one another, but he would invite me to play in old-timer tournaments in different places. The last one was in Lake Placid. Jeff was a great player – he always made people feel comfortable and made them laugh. He was the perfect person to attend a hockey tournament with.”
While there’s no shortage of competition at this tournament, it strives to embody positivity, comradery, and friendship – all qualities that Jeff Markle had in abundance. There is only one individual award handed out at the event, the Jeff Markle Memorial award, which goes to the player who best exemplifies those qualities.

Jamie Massie believes in the importance of philanthropy and community, and as co-founder and co-owner of Georgian International, the development firm behind Braestone Communities, joining Ted as a champion of the Braestone Winter Classic was a natural fit.

“It’s a tremendous honour to support the Braestone Winter Classic and its mission to raise funds for cancer care at RVH,” said Jamie Massie. “Cancer touches the lives of so many and as we continue to welcome more people to the area, we will all benefit from having a regional cancer centre at RVH so people can be treated, recover, and heal close to home.”

“Community fundraising initiatives like the Braestone Winter Classic are tremendously important to the future success of RVH. Rallying community support behind a cause like cancer care ensures that RVH is able to continue to provide the highest quality of care for everyone in Simcoe Muskoka when and where they need it most – closer to their homes and support networks.”

Gail Hunt, RVH President & CEO

The 2024 Braestone Winter Classic aims to raise $130,000. The three-day pond hockey tournament also includes a silent auction open to players and the public, and an evening reception. Interested players can submit a team of up to six people at $150 plus HST per player. Teams are guaranteed a minimum of three games played, and will receive food and drink vouchers, a Braestone Winter Classic jersey, swag bag, and entry to the reception.

“Community fundraising initiatives like the Braestone Winter Classic are tremendously important to the future success of RVH,” said Gail Hunt, President and CEO, RVH. “Rallying community support behind a cause like cancer care ensures that RVH is able to continue to provide the highest quality of care for everyone in Simcoe Muskoka when and where they need it most – closer to their homes and support networks.”

Over the last two years, the Braestone Winter Classic has raised $180,000 for cancer care at RVH. “I think Jeff would be very proud of what we’ve been able to achieve,” added Ted. “It’s my hope that the Braestone Winter Classic becomes a cornerstone event in our region – one that people feel good about fundraising for and playing in for many years to come.”