More Than A Game at Loyola
The Ed Meagher Tournament Brings in Young Stars, Old Families and Lots of Nostalgia
Concordia students may recognize the name Ed Meagher as the title of the old hockey arena at Loyola campus, right next to Loyola High School and the PERFORM Centre.
Loyola High School students associate the name Ed Meagher as one of the top high school sports tournaments in the country comprised of hockey, basketball and wrestling.
Bob Lafave, however, remembers Meagher as a hell of a guy.
“He was one of a kind,” said Lafave. “I remember he used to go to [watch college sports at] Notre Dame every year, he just loved sports. And he brought that passion with him to this tournament.”
Lafave first started volunteering at the tournament 28 years ago and has since worked his way up to chairman of the event.
With over 600 athletes and teams from Toronto and Newfoundland, the high school is reaping the benefits in terms of financing their athletic department.
“The tournament serves as a great development process for the students. It’s a different environment.” Randy Burns, Tournament Coordinator
Lafave reckons over $17,000 is made annually from the tournament, which is in its 42nd year. The money goes directly into equipment such as wrestling mats, scoreboards and weight room supplies.
Randy Burns, the coordinator of the event who was once a student in Meagher’s math class, thinks Concordia is a big reason for the success every year.
“Concordia’s been huge since day one,” said Burns. “They lend us their facilities and we fill the arenas. They are great partners.”
The tournament has allowed before-their-time greats like Eric Lindros and Vincent Lecavalier to glide on Concordia’s ice. But this year Burns is most proud of Loyola’s wrestling team—winning the section of the tournament for the first time in the history of the event over the usual powerhouse Kahnawake.
“The tournament serves as a great development process for the students. It’s a different environment,” said Burns. “There’s big crowds that they’re not used to playing with, they’re playing at 8 p.m. instead of right after school, it’s really exciting for the kids.”
Burns and Lafave feel the tournament could go on for another 20 years, and it’s something that is just expected to happen year after year.
For Concordia Athletics Director, Katie Sheahan, the relationship between the high school and the former Loyola College grows even stronger overtime. “In order for [the high school] to be successful, there has to be a place for organizers here so that it’s almost as if the facilities are theirs all year round, so they can feel at ease.”
It’s only fitting the high school feels at ease at the arena, since Concordia renamed their hockey rink after Meager 12 years ago to the day that Loyola lifted the three hockey trophies—bantam, juvenile peewee—on Sunday. In fact, the high school won six out of the seven possible events this past weekend, a testament to the tournament and the benefits brought to the athletic department because of it.
Lafave definitely feels more than comfortable at the event, and with good reason.
“It’s a family event. Me, my son and my grandson played [in the tournament],” said Lafave.
“It started off small, and now it’s one of the finest tournaments in the country.”