Lil' Fighter's Life Celebrated Through the Sport He Loved
It takes a lot to impress Shane Prince, the young NHL player best known for his speed and energy. But 10-year-old Patrick Carr made the hockey star look twice.
Seven years earlier, Patrick had been diagnosed with stage 4 cancer. By the time he met Prince, Patrick — who became known as “Lil’ Fighter” after his diagnosis — had gone through several rounds of chemotherapy, blood transfusions, radiation, a stem cell transplant, four major surgeries, and many stays in the hospital.
But when Patrick had his skates on, you never would have known what he was facing.
“He was the hardest worker out on the ice, so we had no idea what he was going through at first,” said Prince. “When we found that he was getting chemotherapy just hours before his skates, it inspired us to do something for him.”
Prince began planning an event to honor Patrick, and came up with a unique idea: a beach hockey tournament that would take the young fighter’s favorite sport and bring it to the sands of Ontario Beach.
Just days before the inaugural Beach Hockey Classic in 2015, Patrick passed away after an eight-year battle.
“We went on with the event, because we felt like it was important to carry on with the fight in his memory. He never quit, so we did what he would do,” said his mom, Deb Carr. “The tournament became a celebration of Patrick’s life and legacy, and a way to help the other patients at Golisano Children’s Hospital.”
The Beach Hockey Classic is now an annual, sold-out event. More than 200 people ages 5 to 35 compete for the chance to win the Patrick Carr Memorial Sandley Cup, and 1,000 spectators come out for the fun, which includes a live DJ, refreshments, and raffles. In 2017, the event raised more than $18,000 for Golisano Children’s Hospital.
“The hockey community really sticks together and is a family just like the children’s hospital community — and that has really given this event a unique, feel-good spirit,” said Stephanie Sheets, Assistant Director of Community Affairs at Golisano Children’s Hospital. “We are so grateful that the Carrs have chosen to stay involved with the hospital and help other patients like Patrick.”
The tournament is a year-round labor of love for the Carr family and the committee that puts it on. But in the end, all the hard work is worth it. So much so that in 2016, they added another fundraiser to their list: the Cool As Ice skate-a-thon and 3v3 tournament. The event has become another sold-out hit, and has raised a total of $16,708.
“The events allow everyone who knew and loved him to have a day to come together, remember him, and reflect. He touched so many people and inspired everyone who crossed his path,” said Deb. “It always feels great knowing that we worked our tails off in Patrick’s memory for a great cause, and it’s so uplifting and rewarding to see the participants bring the fight and determination to the ice or the sand that Patrick did every time he played.”
The 2018 Beach Hockey Classic is on July 14, 2018. Teams are limited and the event fills up quickly! Sign up at www.PrinceEliteHockey.com.