Cops Against Cancer ball hockey tournament to honour two fallen Cape Breton officers

When Cape Breton Regional Police officers hit the concrete for some ball hockey with family and friends this weekend, they'll be doing it in memory of two of their fellow members who were taken too soon by cancer.

"It means a lot to me," says Fabian Morgan, whose daughter Const. Tara Morgan died of a brain tumour in October 2012 at age 24.

Morgan says participating each year in a fun day with friends helps him cope with the pain of his loss.

"It's a hard go when you lose somebody," Morgan says. "Especially your only child. It's just a way to keep her memory alive, and be part of it also means a lot."

Also being remembered is Const. Mark Royal. He passed away in May 2017 after a battle with cancer, at the age of 36. The following year, the Cops Against Cancer ball hockey tournament was created.  The event typically raises more than five thousand dollars each year in the two officers' names.

"There's not usually much time goes by that we're not telling stories about Mark," said Const. Dwight Miller, a Cape Breton Regional Police officer and tournament organizer. "He was here for 17 years. He was a great guy and a great officer. Everybody enjoyed working with him.  And he's definitely not forgotten."

When the tournament was first created, it was held inside the Dominion Arena. Last year, due to COVID protocols, it had to be held outdoors in a parking lot in Glace Bay. This year it will be held inside the newly refurbished, and renamed, Glace Bay Miner's Forum.

"And hopefully this time next year, we can add more teams to it and make it bigger," Fabian Morgan says.

Pre-COVID, there were plans to expand the event, including adding a female division. Organizers and participants hope that will get back on track once the pandemic is fully behind us.

"It's two great causes: cancer and a way to keep Mark and Tara's legacies alive, so to speak," Morgan said.

This weekend, Morgan will be remembering his daughter as a career-focused cop who was active in her community.

"She would have been involved in this on some level, for sure", he said. "She played a bit of sports - ball, hockey, basketball. She was pretty active, intelligent. Overall, just a great person."

The games begin at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 7.