South Charlotte

Hemby Cup celebrates 10th anniversary

When event leaders organized the first Hemby Cup charity hockey game in 2001, they were optimistic they could raise $5,000 for the Presbyterian Hemby Children's Hospital.

The event brought in triple that goal.

Now the Hemby Cup is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The youth tournament runs through Feb. 20, and organizers anticipate this year's total will reach $100,000. Over a decade, the effort has raised more than $800,000.

The money has helped construct or purchase amenities at Presbyterian Hemby Children's Hospital and Blume Pediatric Hematology and Oncology Clinic. It also has paid for an outdoor playground on the children's hospital's floor, game systems in every room, medical equipment and an arts program.

This past year, the Hemby Cup, whose charitable arm operates through the Presbyterian Foundation, added the year-old Charlotte Ronald McDonald House and Belmont's Holy Angels, which supports individuals with developmental delays, as beneficiaries.

Money raised during its October events helped the Hemby Cup purchase a van to transport patients and their families from the Ronald McDonald House to Presbyterian and the Levine Children's Hospital at Carolinas Medical Center.

Tom DeFeo, a national director for Microsoft Corp. who also is a native Pennsylvanian and hockey enthusiast, organized the first Hemby Cup event after participating in similar events in Seattle.

DeFeo says he approached the Charlotte Checkers minor-league hockey team, which already was a partner with Presbyterian Hospital, about organizing a charity game. DeFeo coordinated a match between Microsoft employees and police officers at the Checkers' then-home arena at what is now Bojangles Coliseum.

The annual game, now at Time Warner Cable Arena, always has been scheduled for an afternoon prior to a Checker's home game. Youth patients serve as honorary captains and skate before the game. Those in attendance go to the day's Checkers game for free.

Fundraising efforts have included everything from selling tickets and T-shirts to leaders hosting a dodgeball tournament. While most funding has come through these grass-roots efforts, DeFeo says, Microsoft and Bank of America have supported those endeavors with matching grants.

For more information, visit www. hemby cup .com .