The fantastic Tŷ Hafan All Stars ice hockey team will be back on the rink at the annual charity tournament in Cardiff this weekend (Saturday 29 and Sunday 30 July) – with Tŷ Hafan dad Chris Thomas making his team debut.
Devoted Cardiff Devils fan Chris, from Caerphilly, will be playing Line 3 Power Forward for the Tŷ Hafan All Stars, inspired by the memory of his daughter Scarlett. And not only is it Chris’s debut with Tŷ Hafan All Stars, but he will be playing his first hockey matches ever!
Born in 2014, Scarlett was diagnosed with a chromosomal condition so rare that it did not have a name. At seven months old, Scarlett, mum Clair and Chris began to be supported by Tŷ Hafan. Scarlett died in September 2018 at just four years old and since then Clair and Chris have raised more than £25,000 for the charity in their own right.
“We have watched and supported All Stars for years,” says Chris, pictured below second from right. “From the moment of Scarlett’s lap on the ice with the team captain James, we were hooked and have supported with fundraising ever since. But this year, to be given the chance to play and support Tŷ Hafan at the same time, I’ve jumped at the opportunity. Then came the realisation that I need to learn to skate!!!
“Wearing the jersey this year with Scarlett’s badge situated over my heart has the makings of an emotional weekend.
“It shows what the team and Tŷ Hafan is all about. It’s about supporting children and their families. A place that supported us and still does.”
“Scarlett became mascot for Tŷ Hafan All Stars in 2016 and loved the tournament! Now Tŷ Hafan All Stars play in memory of her and, the inspiration for their incredible fundraising efforts, she is featured on the Team Scarlett motif on the team’s shirts,” says Helen Morgan, senior community fundraiser at Tŷ Hafan.
“Tŷ Hafan All Stars were a huge success in more ways than one at last year’s tournament at the Vindico Arena, when they came second in the fast and furious weekend tournament, only losing to MIND in the final,” continues Helen.
“They also raised an amazing £16,000 in sponsorship for Tŷ Hafan Children’s Hospice – having raised well over £70,000 for us since they began taking part in the tournament back in 2016. Already this year the team have fundraised another £16,000 for 2023!
“On top of that Chris and Clair have themselves raised well over £25,000 for Tŷ Hafan and Clair will be at Wales Ice Arena to cheer on Chris and the team this weekend.”
Captain of the 18-strong mixed team, which comprises skaters of all abilities, is James Pepper, a member of the Board of Trustees at Tŷ Hafan.
“It is such a privilege to captain Tŷ Hafan Ice hockey team,” says James. “We have a great group who really understand the importance of Tŷ Hafan. The players have met some of the Tŷ Hafan children and their families at last year’s event or through visiting the hospice and understand the positive impact Tŷ Hafan has had on their lives.
“The team has been fantastic this year and really thought outside of the box to raise as much money as they can for Tŷ Hafan.
“We are closing in on £18k at this stage and it would be great to keep the money rolling in over the weekend. We also look forward to seeing Tŷ Hafan families at the event and will be sure to come and say hello.”
“We are all so grateful to all members of Tŷ Hafan All Stars, for their incredible fundraising for us over so many years at this tournament,” adds Helen Morgan. “They have done fantastically well once again this year, and we are looking forward to cheering them on at the tournament this weekend. Good luck to everyone!”
Teams representing eight different charities, including British Heart Foundation and Help for Heroes will travel from far and wide to play at this weekend’s tournament.
All players take part with the mutual aim of wanting to play ice hockey, but more importantly raise funds for some extremely worthwhile causes. The matches will take place on Saturday July 29 and Sunday, July 30 and will begin at 12 noon each day and finish at 7pm. Tickets can be purchased on the door. Prices are £3 per day, or £5 for the weekend. Children just pay a small donation. Parking is free.
To find out more go to: https://www.ukcharityallstars.com/
To sponsor Tŷ Hafan All Stars ice hockey team go to: https://www.justgiving.com/team/Tyhafanicehockey2023
To watch an interview with Tŷ Hafan All Stars Captain James Pepper go to: https://www.ukcharityallstars.com/news/captain-calls-ty-hafan/