Inaugural Outdoor Classic to raise funds for new equipment at Cypress Regional Hospital

By Matthew Liebenberg

Source: Prairie Post

A new outdoor event in Swift Current will both be a celebration of Canada’s favourite winter sport and a fundraiser for an important piece of medical equipment at the Cypress Regional Hospital.

The Dr. Noble Irwin Regional Healthcare Foundation is partnering with the Swift Current No-hit Hockey League (SCNHL) to host the inaugural Outdoor Classic at the Sheldon Kennedy rink in Riverdene Park, Jan. 29.

Proceeds from the event will be split between the two partnering organizations, and the money raised by the Healthcare Foundation will support a new fundraising campaign for a digital cell imaging system for the laboratory at the Cypress Regional Hospital.

Sara Adrian, the communications and development coordinator at the Healthcare Foundation, said the digital cell imaging technology will have numerous benefits. It will result in improved patient care, less time will be required to process and review blood smears in the laboratory, and external review of samples in Saskatoon and Regina can be done much sooner.

“We’re excited to get this new technology into the hospital, and really connect the southwest to bigger centres and just improve healthcare for everybody here in the southwest,” she mentioned.

The Outdoor Classic offers a new opportunity for the Healthcare Foundation to connect with the community and to raise funds in support of quality healthcare in southwest Saskatchewan.

Marcus Kouri, the development and major gifts coordinator at the Healthcare Foundation, noted that several other fundraising events are taking place during other times of the year. The Black Tie NHL Hockey Draft takes place in the spring, there are two golf tournaments and the Ribfest in the summer, and the annual Radiothon takes place in the fall.

“This is our first actual winter event,” he said about the Outdoor Classic. “The winter time is usually super quiet for us. So it’s going to give us a chance to get out there, talk to our sponsors, talk to our donors and run that winter event and just give something in the community to do, whether you’re playing in the league or watching your grandson or grandchild play. You can come out to the event and have a lot of fun.”

An idea by the SCNHL to arrange an outdoor league game was the motivation for the creation of the Outdoor Classic. Kouri, who plays in the league, said the Healthcare Foundation was immediately interested in the possibilities of creating an event for the community.

“We thought Scotiabank Hockey Day in Canada was a lot of fun,” he said. “So we thought maybe we can recreate a mini one of those, jumped on board with the No-hit League, got the minor hockey involved with the U7s, and just made it into a bigger deal. Rather than just one game, we’re turning it into a full day event, which will be a lot of fun.”

It is a free event and everyone is welcome to come and watch the outdoor action on the ice. It will start at noon with Timbits games. Six U7 teams will participate in the event and there will be three games from noon to 3 p.m.

The Innovation Credit Union U18 AAA Wildcats will be in attendance and team members will also be officiating the U7 games. The Wildcats will be doing an outdoor practise at the rink before the start of the U7 games from 10-11 a.m.

The adult SCNHL games will start at around 3:20 p.m. and the last puck drop will be at 6:30 p.m. The last game will be a great opportunity to experience an outdoor hockey game under the lights.

“The lights down at the Sheldon Kennedy rink are really, really good actually,” he said. “I went down there just to check. It gets dark super fast now, so we’ve to got to make sure they work good, and they’re fantastic.”

Six SCNHL teams will participate in the three games and winning teams will score points towards the regular league standings, which will ensure plenty of on-ice action.

“It is for fun, but it also counts towards league standings,” he said. “So teams are going to want to win, for sure.”

The Outdoor Classic will also offer food, drinks and entertainment to patrons. It will feature catering by Louie D’s and there will be a beverage garden with entertainment provided by local DJ company Half Peeled Beats. The beverage garden will open at 3 p.m. and last call will be at 10:30 p.m.

There will be a 50/50 ticket raffle in support of the fundraising event. Kouri expressed appreciation towards presenting sponsor Innovation Wealth for helping to make this event a reality.

According to Adrian the Healthcare Foundation’s fundraising campaign for a digital cell imaging system at Cypress Regional Hospital is part of a provincial effort by the Saskatchewan Health Authority to have this technology available at laboratories in regional hospitals.

The campaign goal is to raise $30,000 for the purchase of the digital cell imaging technology for the Cypress Regional Hospital. The laboratory currently performs manual blood smears to test for and diagnose medical conditions such as autoimmune diseases, anemia, leukemia, and other types of cancer.

“Right now, when the lab takes blood samples, they have to do a manual review of it,” she explained. “This machine will do that review for them. It will cut down that lead time by about 50 per cent.”

Tests that indicate signs of abnormalities are referred to the hematology department in Regina or Saskatoon for review. Currently the glass slides used for blood smears are transported to those locations and the process can take two to four days.

The digital cell imaging system will make it possible to connect remotely with the hospital in Regina or Saskatoon, which will reduce turnaround time for results by about 90 per cent.

“It will be viewed almost instantaneously by a specialist in Saskatoon or Regina,” she said. “So they’ll be able to get results back much, much faster.”

The Outdoor Classic will help the Healthcare Foundation to raise funds for the digital cell imaging system. Donations towards this campaign can also be made online through the Healthcare Foundation website (, in person during office hours or by mail.