Little Kevin Fund softball game raises about $1,500

SWING: Former Ferris State University defenseman Scott Czarnowczan takes a swing on Friday during the Little Kevin Hockey Fund softball game at HemlocK Park. The game raised about $1,500. (Pioneer photo/Richard Mead)

SWING: Former Ferris State University defenseman Scott Czarnowczan takes a swing on Friday during the Little Kevin Hockey Fund softball game at HemlocK Park. The game raised about $1,500. (Pioneer photo/Richard Mead)

BIG RAPIDS — Big Rapids community members and Ferris State University hockey alumni gathered at Hemlock Park Friday night for the 11th annual Little Kevin Hockey Fund softball game.

The game pitted former FSU hockey players against local law enforcement and firefighters. The event is held to raise money for the fund, which was created in the memory of Kevin Courtney Jr., who died 12 years ago.

The FSU alumni team earned a 37-25 victory, but to Kevin Courtney Sr., the score was irrelevant.

“It’s great to see all these guys who came out,” Courtney said. “Everyone here is connected by Bulldog hockey. The local law enforcement is a family, and the hockey program is the same way. These people were here for me when my son passed away, and it continues through this event.”

The FSU team was made up of notable alumni, including John Gruden and CJ Motte. Also making an appearance at the event was FSU head coach Bob Daniels and Detroit Red Wings head coach Jeff Blashill.

“It’s awesome,” Blashill said. “Courtney has been a big part of Big Rapids for a long time. He’s been a real liaison between the community and the FSU hockey team. You see this group come back to support the Little Kevin Fund, which makes it just a special event. I love to come back every year.”

The Little Kevin Fund raises money for the Big Rapids Junior Hockey Association and the Learn to Skate program.

This year’s game raised about $1,500 through donations and a 50/50 raffle.

Big Rapids High School Athletic Director, Nick Scheible, played for the Bulldogs from 2002-06. He said the event shows the community’s immense support for the Courtney family and the Cardinals and Bulldogs’ hockey programs.

“It’s a lot of fun, and it’s an event we look forward to every year,” Scheible said. “With the support Courtney has given the hockey program over the years, the hockey guys look forward to coming back for the family and the memory of their son.

“It was a nice turnout, as well. We get to raise a couple bucks for the fund and have a good time.”

Courtney, a former Mecosta County commissioner and director of Big Rapids Department of Public Safety, said he hopes to expand the fund in the near future.

“We’re going to have some serious discussions about broadening the fund,” he said. “If we do that, it would allow us to do more with the fund and give more support to Big Rapids hockey all around.”

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