The return of the Tour de Coast includes a fundraising meeting between the police and the fire department

There will be ice hockey at the Powell River Recreation Complex on April 22 as the RCMP and Fire Department compete in support of Cops for Cancer’s Tour de Coast, one of four fundraising bike rides funds in British Columbia for pediatric cancer research.

“We thought of just inviting family and friends to come watch us play, but then we thought, why not open it up to everyone?” says Corporal Phil Caza, who will be on the tour to represent Powell River. “We’ll have a great game, photo opportunities with the teams, the chance to learn about Cops for Cancer and the Tour de Coast, and more. It will be a good family evening for a good cause.

This is Phil’s second year participating in the Tour de Coast, where participants cycle 800 kilometers through Vancouver and the Sunshine Coast, including a stop in the qathet area, between September 21-29. As an RCMP officer who has lived here since 2019, he is proud to represent the area and make a difference to children battling cancer.

“Last year on the tour we met children with cancer and learned about their experiences and their dreams for the future,” says Phil. “They were so brave and courageous with everything they were going through, and I really connected with them. I recently found out that one of the boys I met passed away, and I was heartbroken. It really highlights why we ride and why we ride.

Donations go to both pediatric cancer research and Camp Goodtimes, a summer camp located in Maple Ridge that provides medically supervised summer camp experiences for children and youth with cancer.

“Powell River Detachment has a long history of participating in the Tour de Coast and exceeding our fundraising goals,” says Phil. “Last year I had a goal of $4,000 and we raised $8,000. This year I hope to raise $6,000, and the hockey game is just one of the events we are planning to help me achieve this goal.

Cops for Cancer began as a fundraising and anti-bullying initiative in 1997, when Edmonton police officers shaved their heads to support a boy undergoing chemotherapy who was being bullied at school . Since then, the organization has raised nearly $50 million to support pediatric cancer research through a variety of fundraising initiatives, including Tour de Coast.

“I’m primarily a mountain biker, but I’ve definitely started doing more road biking since I got involved with the tour,” says Phil. “I train with rides between Powell River and Saltery Bay, and go down to Vancouver to do practice rides with other officers, because we ride in a platoon, and that takes some practice. I was happy last year to be able to keep up with the peloton, even on the day when we gained 1,500 meters in altitude.

Phil is working with local firefighter Sid Allman to organize the hockey game on Friday, April 22, and they hope to make the game an annual event, with proceeds going to Cops for Cancer or the Powell River Professional Firefighters Charitable Society on an alternating basis.

“We want to get a trophy that we can display for the team that wins the game,” he adds. “Of course, it will go to the secondment this year, because we intend to win!”

Play begins at 7 p.m. at the Recreation Complex. Tickets are on sale for a minimum donation of $5 per person and can be purchased at the door or in advance at the RCMP detachment at 7070 Barnet Street, or at the fire hall at 6965 Courtenay Street.

Residents can also support Phil directly by donating online at support.cancer.ca/goto/philcaza2022.