County remembers tragic loss at opening ceremonies

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Thirty years have passed since the tragedy, but Karla MacFarlane still remembers the night her parents got the call.

Pictou West MLA Karla MacFarlane, right, does the ceremonial puck drop for the Bantam Memorial Tournament with Sonya Purdy, tournament chair. AMANDA JESS – THE NEWS 

There had been an accident with the Bantam team her brother Frankie was on. Three of the players and one of the parents was dead and Frankie was badly injured.

“This is a tournament that really brings back a lot of pain and hurt,” she said. “We can’t deny that. That will never go away.”

But she hopes it never does. She hopes that people continue to remember Donald Gladwin, John Allan MacDonald and Shawn and Lee Marie MacKay.

“They will be forever in our hearts and in our minds”

But she believes it’s also an opportunity to remember how wonderful Pictou County is.

All the families involved in the tragedy were touched by the outpouring of support.

“I always say, there is always beauty in tragedy,” she said.

At the first tournament held in 1985, MacFarlane was 15 and gave a speech and dropped the puck at one of the games. Now as they recognize the 30th anniversary, she was invited back to speak and to drop the puck at the opening ceremonies, which she did last night.

The tournament action actually started on Thursday and Sonya Purdy, chair of the event, said things have been going great so far.

She said after about four months of work by dedicated volunteers, everything is flowing smoothly.

“Most of the games have been very close and very competitive for all teams,” Purdy said. “The teams have been wonderful and courteous. The parents of our two teams have been wonderful to pitch in no matter what.”

She said they were happy that the weather cooperated as well.

Action continues today.


Schedule for local teams




2:30 p.m. Bantam AA Crushers vs. CB County (Sobeys)


4 p.m. Scotsburn Crushers vs. Western (Sobeys)




9 a.m. Bantam AA semifinal 1


9:15 a.m. Bantam AA semifinal 2


10:30 a.m. Major Bantam semifinal 1


10:45 a.m. Major Bantam semifinal 2


Noon Bantam AA championship game


2 p.m. Major Bantam championship game


*All local games at Wellness Centre

Organizations: Sobeys, Wellness Centre

Geographic location: Pictou County

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