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June, 2013

Pro AM Hockey Tournament

This Hockey tournament took place May 3rd & 4th at Can Lan Ice Sports at York University. The event has been in existence for at least 5 years, though this is the 2nd year OATA representatives have been involved.

Under the auspices of the Baycrest Center for Geriatric Care, their research division created this project, the objective being to raise money for research into treating Alzheimer’s Disease. Gordie Howe gave his name and support for this cause, as the title former NHLer, in this endeavor. Although he does not participate as a player, his presence is felt in the promotion of the event.

My motivation in this project is multi-fold. Firstly, the Baycrest Center, while being well know in Gerontology circles across the world, is also a campus of the University of Toronto Medical School. I was hoping to give The Baycrest exposure in the Athletic Therapy world. In time it is hoped therapists would explore the growing senior population as a career specialty. Hence familiarity with this institution would nurture the options for ATs down the line.

Conversely, I hope to give the Baycrest board and other supporters of the Baycrest first hand exposure to Athletic Therapists. While many of them are well connected and are potential clients of ATs in and of themselves, I would like their continued exposure and familiarity with us and our skills to result in employment opportunities at organizations such as the Baycrest. Our approach to rehabilitation and well-being is broader and more pro active than many other parallel professions, but we have to get our name out there. Hence this opportunity. Our presence at this event will give us a toehold for the future.

I endeavored my volunteers to network whenever possible. Once cards have been exchanged and people have worked together, trust will follow and it will be easier for cooperation with other projects down the line.

At this point I am asked well in advance by the tournament organizers for my participation and that of my volunteer therapists. So we are already, without a doubt an established entity!

The tournament itself is held over 2 days. Teams have to raise at least $25 000 to enter a team. We are dealing with an affluent and well connected population group. Once entered, each team has an opportunity to bid/recruit from a list of former NHLers who have donated their time to this event. The point man for this is Mark Napier who chairs the NHL alumnus organization.

Volunteers were asked to man the upstairs clinic. Ringside coverage, apparently for liability purposes, was served by St John's Ambulance. We generally did pre, post and between event rub downs though there were a few treatment scenarios that we addressed manually.

Of the +\- 7 therapists who were present on each day, half were ATs or AT graduates. The other half were RMTs with a sport massage background and Canadian Sport Massage Therapists Assn affiliation. In discussion with organizers we agreed that ONLY therapists with these designations (in my case both) would be present. We concurred that participants deserve the specialists in sport medicine only. One exception was a Chiropractor friend of mine who is active in the Baycrest area and knows a lot of the organizers. I asked her to participate which she did gladly. Fortunately so because there were a few situations that we could not deal with - subluxed ribs etc. Common in Hockey.

To their credit, and evident in the photographs I had forwarded earlier, the organizers specifically requested the logos of CSMTA and OATA so these could be mounted on the clinic board. Clearly recognition of the brands has been established and recognized. Thank you for permitting use of the logo.

The therapists and Chiropractor did have an opportunity to network with one another, exchange cards and make one another's acquaintance. It was a great team player environment with excellent mutual respect for one another’s skills. Clearly the AT command of sport medicine was evident and appreciated by the others. In contrast, rather humorously for the RMTs, the AT graduates had never worked so hard in their lives doing the rub downs. It is physical and the therapist's mechanics have to be good.

Prior to commencing treatment I did a quick review of sport massage for the ATs so they were prepared.

We did 88 contacts which included rub downs (primarily), a few clinical treatments (low back issues that were usually inominate bone issues due to play), and a few icings.

NHLers were happy to be photographed with the staff. I took a few photographs, respectfully asking the player in question if this was OK. They all agreed.

I believe this tournament took place in the Toronto area. In the past it did in other Canadian centers as well.

Further details are available on the tournament website:

Jonathan Maister

(From Left to Right, Back to Front) Mark Napier (NHL alumnus) with Lauren Ercalao, Osvaldo Bolanos, Stephanie Yip, and Jonathan Meister.

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