"Words Cannot Express" Gratitude for Donations to Cranbrook Friendship Hockey Team

(Credit: Cranbrook Friendship Hockey Team)

Since announcing that they were victims of fraud on Friday, the team has already received well over $25,000 in community donations.

The team announced Friday afternoon that a "trusted volunteer" had defrauded them of over $30,000 just days before they were set to leave for the Peewee International Friendship Hockey Tournament in Hachinohe, Japan.

Due to the nature of the incident, Travel Coordinator Crystal Kenyon says their bank account was frozen over the weekend and that they are still working to process all of the donations, but as of Monday morning, she believes that well over $25,000 had been given.

She says words could not express how grateful she is to the community for coming together like this, adding that the Friendship Hockey Team's organizers spoke with their 17 kids about the situation.

"We chose to take an unfortunate situation and spin it with a positive and explain to them that something bad had happened, however, you know what, it's no one's fault on the team that this has happened. Look how wonderful our community is and isn't it great to be part of such a wonderful thing that's happening right now with the outpouring of support?"

In the initial press release, it was explained that the team learned about the fraud after doing a last-minute audit of their finances.

Kenyon says some have questioned why they did not have everything already sorted out, but she says this was not the case.

"When you travel with a group of so many people - we're 50 people - you book things through groups and they invoice you just before you're ready to go so you put deposits on everything and you write the cheques to pay for things after. We did have everything organized and ready to go - we just had to go through everything and pay our bills."

Organizers have since figured out the bare necessities of what they will need for their trip, and thanks to the donations from the public, they will be able to travel and take part in the tournament.

As for the person responsible for the fraud, Kenyon says they know who it is, but they will not be naming names.

"The reason for that is that there's 17 kids involved with this and we need to make sure this is the most positive experience possible and we don't want all this stuff to be associated with the kids. We've given this to the RCMP and the RCMP will take it from here."

Cranbrook RCMP told Summit 107 that they will not be commenting on the investigation while it is ongoing.

The team will leave in two groups next Tuesday and Wednesday, while the tournament runs from April 27th to May 5th.

Any further questions can be directed to Crystal Kenyon at cranbrookfriendshiphockey2019@gmail.com

Audio: Crystal Kenyon, Travel Coordinator, Cranbrook Friendship Hockey Team (on the outpouring of support)

Audio: Crystal Kenyon, Travel Coordinator, Cranbrook Friendship Hockey Team (on organizing payments for the trip)

Audio: Crystal Kenyon, Travel Coordinator, Cranbrook Friendship Hockey Team (on updating the public)

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