Family and friends of the late Corey Trudeau came together for a fundraising flag football tournament at Richardson Stadium on July 21, 2019. This year, an online poker tournament and silent auction will be held in its place due to COVID-19 concerns. (Meghan Balogh/The Whig-Standard)SunMedia
Those closest to the late Corey Trudeau will be swapping the green turf of a football field for the green felt of a poker table, if you will, to honour his memory this year.
Since dying suddenly in November 2014, Trudeaus friends and family have gathered for an annual mid-summer flag football tournament to raise money for his daughter, Jacqueline, who was a young child when he died.
Trudeau was posthumously honoured into the Queens Football Hall of Fame and the Kingston and District Sports Hall of Fame in 2016.
This year, due to COVID-19-related circumstances, the organizers opted to go forward with the celebration through an online poker tournament and silent auction.
(We realized) what we undertook five years ago could still be undertaken in the present, specifically that we can still gather together and remember one of our former colleagues, Mike Johnston, a former teammate of Trudeaus on the Queens Golden Gaels from 2001 to 2003, said.
Nearly five years after his passing, Trudeau is remembered by Johnston as not only a teammate but a role model.
In a personal capacity, we were the best of friends. We worked out together all the time and had a really close relationship, he said. A very important guy in my life, he really took me under his wing and worked hard with me.
The annual tournament has been run to help support Jacqueline Trudeau, but in 2016 it added a charitable segment for the money raised. Since then, a portion of the proceeds have gone to Big Brothers Big Sisters of Kingston, Frontenac, Lennox and Addington. This year, however, theyre dividing the earnings between Jacqueline Trudeau, Queens football, Partners in Mission Food Bank and Lionhearts COVID-19 Street Project.
After raising more than $1,000 in the tournaments first year, Johnston and the events organizers reached $7,353 in total donations last year, 60 per cent of which went to Jacqueline Trudeau.
This years poker tournament will be held on Saturday over Zoom. The tournament wont use real money but requires a registration fee.
Johnston said they elected to give money to four separate causes this year to extend the fundraisers reach in the community.
I dont want to sound arrogant, just the idea of providing a small example that small acts of kindness or generosity, even if theyre comparatively small, over the long term can make a difference, Johnston said.
Were just hoping thats what were able to accomplish here.
While the event will provide help to various groups, Johnston said the messaging behind remembering Trudeaus name is equally, if not more, important.
This isnt so much financial as it is emotional. Its showing people in the community that they have people they can rely on, Johnston said.
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