My name is Darren Foley and I grew up in the wonderful community of Crooked Creek, an hour east of Grande Prairie. Attended Ridgevalley School from Kindergarten to Grade 12 and then helped my parents run the Crooked Creek Store for a couple years before going to Grande Prairie Regional College and then the University of Alberta to complete a Bachelor of Education Degree.
Later on in my career as a teacher I completed a Master’s Degree in Education from the University of Calgary in order to get into career and academic counselling at the Comp where I have been a teacher since 1998. In 1999, along with Rick Gilson and Ray Hemmingway, the Tri-District Charity Hockey Tournament was born and has now evolved 18 editions later into the 3D Charity Hockey and Soccer Tournament. In the next calendar year, the charity will be over $1,000,000.00 in total money raised and has supported hundreds of students and families in the three local school districts. The success is a testament to the hard work of students, school staff, and local businesses working hard to raise money for our students. My beautiful girls, wife Sharon and daughter Shea, are the most important people in my life and are very supportive of the time it takes to run a full time children’s charity.
1. It’s Tuesday night, what are you having for dinner?
Fresh vegetable stir fry and brown rice.
2. If you didn’t do what you do for a living, what would you be?
A full time philanthropist.
3. What person has influenced your life the most?
No one person, a combination of family, elementary teachers, and minor hockey league coaches.
4. What is your favourite sport?
Hockey – Go Oilers, maybe next year?
5. Favourite movie of all time?
Either Tommy Boy or Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
6. Favourite musician of all time?
The Tragically Hip.
7. What’s your most embarrassing moment? So many to choose,
I wore two different coloured shoes to work one day, and not until the end of the day did a student call me over and made me aware of the one brown shoe and one black shoe and red face.
8. What’s your favourite TV show?
9. If you could have one super power, what would it be?
Take away serious illnesses from children.
10. What’s the one thing you haven’t done that you would love to do?
Scuba diving in Australia.
11. If we’re buying, you’re having…?
Fresh Atlantic salmon and rice.
12. Last book you couldn’t put down?
Anything true crime.
13. Who was your childhood celebrity crush?
Suzanne Somers or Lonnie Anderson,
14. What is the 3D Charity Hockey Tournament?
A hockey and soccer tournament for students in the Peace Wapiti, Catholic, and Public school districts to support students in those schools who are dealing with serious medical concerns. The 3D Children’s Society is a tremendous board consisting of local community leaders that help make the charity successful.
15. Why is the tournament important for the area?
Government support is either minimal or non-existent for families in our community who either have to purchase their own wheel chairs, completely renovate their homes for wheel chair access, travel to hospitals in Edmonton, Calgary, Toronto, Montreal, Memphis, and Florida….etc., and they need a little helping hand to help pay some of those costs. Each year, between 35-40 students receive various funding to help support in different ways.
16. How has the event grown since beginning in 1999?
Started with six high school hockey teams to now approximately 40 hockey teams with girls and boys grade 4 to 12 and approximately 25 soccer teams with boys and girls grades 4 to 6. We are hoping for around 500 students playing both sports this year. The City of Grande Prairie has been extremely supportive and we are lucky to be able to be under one roof this year April 26, 27, and 28 at the Coke Centre and Eastlink Fieldhouse.
17. What’s been the community response and participation to the event over the years?
One word, overwhelming. I don’t think people in our community realize how many children are dealing with serious medical issues. A few years ago, we started taking sponsors to schools and the response was incredible when they gain an understanding of the number of students and financial cost the families are facing.
18. What are your plans for this year’s tournament?
Bigger and better hopefully. Having the Eastlink Fieldhouse is huge for us so we can be under one roof for hockey and soccer. In addition to the sports, we also plan to have face painting and balloon animals for the kids and interactive games to win huge prizes. We have signed NHL hockey jersey’s, big screen TV’s, a smoker, jewellery, Go Pro cameras, and the list goes on and on that people can bid on or buy tickets for draw prizes. Something for everyone.
19.If you could go anywhere in the world on a holiday, where would you go and who, living or dead would you take with you?
I would take Wayne Gretzky, Chris Farley, and Michael J. Fox to an Oilers game in Vegas.
20. What are your words to live by?
The students the 3D Children’s Charity supports are my heroes and I am humbled and honoured to know them and their families, so this quote resonates with me; “What counts is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.” Nelson Mandela