Grant Gilbertson Memorial Hockey Tournament returns to Saanich Peninsula


Written by: Brendan Mayer

Originally Published by Saanich News

The Grant Gilbertson Memorial Hockey Tournament is returning in honour of two Greater Victoria hockey players who lost their lives too soon.

The tournament will be held at the Panorama Recreation Centre from Friday (Aug. 11) to Sunday and will pay tribute to Gilbertson and Dayton Clarke.

“Many local players played with Dayton and Grant,” said Danielle Strom, fundraising coordinator for the Grant Gilbertson Memorial Foundation. “This will be a nice tribute.”

Sooke’s Gilbertson died in a crash near Sooke and Humpback roads while on his way to practise with the Peninsula Panthers on Jan. 3, 2022.

West Shore RCMP said at the time that icy road conditions contributed to the crash.

After postponing games, the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League continued play, with the Panthers dedicating the season to Gilbertson. The team won their first championship in more than a decade after beating the Oceanside Generals 4-3 in overtime in Game 6 of the VIJHL finals.

Clarke played for the Saanich Predators from 2017-2021, but was hit by a delivery truck while crossing the road in Eugene, Ore. on May 13. He was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Eugene Police Department. Clarke was originally from Greater Victoria and had just finished his freshman year playing with the University of Oregon Ducks.

The tournament will feature 22 teams and more than 300 players.

There will also be a special event on Saturday at 8 p.m. including live music from Sooke alternative-rock band Shale, Langford country singer-songwriter Jamie Hamilton and more.

Scholarships and prizes will be given away during the tournament.

“Last year we gave out three scholarships and we anticipate giving out more this year,” Strom added. “We will base it on sponsorships. We have over 100 sponsors this year so we’re doing really well. We will also give out thousands of dollars in prizes.”

Admission will be by donation, with all proceeds going to the foundation.

“The foundation gives bursaries and scholarships to local children, youth and young adults to further their education,” Strom said. “We also help kids go to summer camps and hockey schools that wouldn’t otherwise be able to. We plan on doing more.”