The Ernie Gare Athletic Scholarship, based in Nelson, is Canada’s first and longest running athletic scholarship.
The son of the scholarship founder Ernie Gare Sr, Danny Gare, returned to his stomping grounds to present the current board with a cheque for $7,500 from a Roast held in Buffalo in February.
“I said I’d do the Roast, but on one condition . . . that organizers would donate money to the Ernie Gare Scholarship,” Nelson Minor Hockey grad Danny Gare said during this past weekend’s Gare Cup Co-Ed Youth Soccer Tournament at the Lakeside Pitch.
Gare, born and raised in the Heritage City, said former NHLers Dave Schultz from Philadelphia Flyers, Rene Robert from Buffalo Sabres and Danny’s brother Morey Gare were some of the headliners attending.
“There was a lot of laughs and many stories,” Gare said. “But the really good part was part of the money went to Dad’s (Ernie Gare Sr.) Scholarship fund.”
The Ernie Gare Scholarship has been around since 1961 when Ernie Gare Sr, then Athletic Director at Notre Dame University in Nelson, decided to create a fund to assist athletes with the Nelson Maple Leafs of the Western International Hockey League and Canadian National Ski Team with their education.
The Scholarship changed to now offering high school students in the area with funds to assist in post-secondary education.
Danny Gare was the most successful player of Gare Sr. three boys, Danny, Ernie and Morey. Drafted 29th overall in the 1974 NHL draft by the Buffalo Sabres, Gare finished his 14-year career with 685 points.
Both Ernie Sr, and Danny were both inducted into the BC Hockey Hall of Fame, Ernie in 1998, and Danny in 2000.
“I talked about the Scholarship at Roast, it being the first scholarship program starting in 1961 to combine athletics and education,” Gare explained. “That was very important to Dad as well as youth sport was also a big part of his life.”
After years of hosting a major fundraiser weekend in July for years, which hosted such hockey greats at Gordie Howe, Vancouver Canuck legends Trevor Linden, Nelson's Greg Adams and coach and GM Pat Quinn and Sportsnet Hockey Host Ron McLean, the program has shifted to hosting a youth soccer tournament.
“We enjoyed those years bringing Gordie Howe and Ron McLean into Nelson,” Gare said.
“Those we’re so much fun as well as the midsummer hockey games. But now I have to give my nieces, Amy (Stewart), Jillian (Lundhaug) and Jamie (Renney) a lot of credit for bringing the scholarship event back.
“It’s great to see them re-inventing it.”
The Co-ed Tournament attracted more than 35 players to Lakeside for a day of skill development as games.
The day concluded with a Celebration of Life for one of the main organizers of past Ernie Gare Scholarship Weekends, Emily Beauchamp.
Beauchamp, instrumental in attracting many of the major headliners of the past, lost a battle with cancer in September 2018. Many past friends and teammates attended a gathering at Rotary Lakeside Park.
The Gare Cup hosted many local soccer players with proceeds going to the Ernie Gare Scholarship. — The Nelson Daily photo