An ice hockey team affected by cancer is holding a fundraising tournament to help a hospice center care for the terminally ill.

After the wife of its team captain died due to cancer, the Hockey Donkeys organized this weekend’s Donkeys Kick Cancer tournament at Skate Frederick. Money generated from donations, fees and raffles will benefit the Kline Hospice House in Mount Airy.

Organizer Matthew Goodwin said the event had raised $3,000 for the hospice from dues alone. That did not include donations or proceeds from the raffles.

Frederick resident Laura Rigsby helped run the raffle and her husband, Eric, played on the Old Fat Bald Guys team. Her mother died in October at Kline Hospice House. She was eager to find a way to give back to the center after it had helped her family.

“They allowed me to be a daughter instead of a caretaker,” she said, holding back tears.

The hospice’s care helped make the difficult time the family faced a bit easier, she said, adding that there was even someone who played guitar who came and sang to her mother.

In the tournament, eight teams split into two divisions faced off in what Goodwin characterized as friendly competition. One of his goals, he said, was to make sure the tournament was fun and sociable.

“I wanted people who were going to hang out in the parking lot,” he said.

The teams will be playing for wrestling-style championship belts, which Goodwin called a fun twist on the usual trophy.

As of early afternoon Saturday, the Renegades and Honey Badgers were tied for first in the C division. The Brochachos led the B division.

Goodwin hopes to hold another tournament next year with more teams.

The appropriately named Wendy Hockey, a member of the Hockey Donkeys, said she enjoyed playing in the tournament.

“The competition level is quite high,” she said.

The fundraiser was a great way to bring her family together and help an important cause, she added.

Her husband, daughter and two sons are also playing in the tournament, she said.

“We wanted to give back to the community,” she said of the team. “I’m very honored that they asked me to play.”

Follow Kelsi Loos on Twitter: @KelsiFNP.

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