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The Gorges-Comeau Homebase Charity Slo-Pitch Tournament presented by Raymond James in 2023, was a heartwarming demonstration of Kelowna community spirit and camaraderie that was a home run for mental health.
The two-day event was filled with laughter, cheering and an overwhelming sense of togetherness, raising an astounding $175,000 in support of the KGH Foundation and its commitment to local mental health care services!
The weekend kicked off with the highly-anticipated Friday night NHL All-Star Match. Despite the initial innings going by quickly, the mood was uplifted by Mike Smith of Team Comeau, who hit the game's only out-of-the-park home run.
Todd Simpson, also from Team Comeau, was the game crowd-engager, bringing laughs to the audience throughout the entire game. Midway through the match, Team Gorges gained momentum and in the end, secured their win for the fourth year of the event.
There was no shortage of entertainment, with Brad Karp from K96.3 and Alex Draper from the Kelowna Falcons delivering lively play-by-play commentary and Scott Hackman from Country 100.7FM hosting fun inter-inning activities.
This atmosphere of fun and sportsmanship carried into the Saturday Slo-Pitch Tournament, where all teams played their hearts out, including a KGH Foundation team who surprised themselves by squaring off against Team Comeau in the playoffs.
This amazing event is a testament to the sense of community in Kelowna. CEO of the KGH Foundation, Allison Young, encapsulates this feeling, saying, "It is always amazing to see how the community can come together, united in their desire to make a difference and help drive health care forward."
Credit is also due to the wonderful event creators Blake Comeau, Josh Gorges and their NHL friends who traded their hockey sticks for bats, and the community teams, sponsors, volunteers and supporters who made this event possible.
A special acknowledgement to Raymond James Kelowna, the event's presenting sponsor since inception, and its Branch Manager, Erica Whiteley, who caught the first pitch, signaling the start of the memorable All-Star Match.
The highlight of the weekend, of course, is the staggering $175,000 raised. These funds will help the KGH Foundation to invest in mental health and wellness initiatives and innovation within the mental health care system and ensure that help is 'closer to home than you think.'
The 2023 Homebase Charity Slo-Pitch Tournament was more than a showcase of sporting prowess or a gathering of NHL stars. It was a beacon of hope, a demonstration of community strength and a testament to the power of sport in bringing people together for a common, and worthy, cause.