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Ike Coffin, committee choose to end long-running softball tournament

Ike Coffin
Ike Coffin

MOUNT STEWART – Ike Coffin says the end of July is going to feel a lot different this year.

After 23 years, Coffin and his committee have decided to end the annual co-ed slo-pitch tournament that raised money and awareness of muscular dystrophy.

The tournament was always held on the final weekend of July.

“All good things have to come to an end sometime so, after 23 years – successful years – the committee and myself decided it’s time,’’ Coffin told The Guardian on Thursday. “It was a big part of my year at the end of July. It’ll be a weekend to sit back and think about 23 years.’’

The tournament, which was held at diamonds in Mount Stewart, Peakes and Tracadie Cross, brought in about $350,000 over its tenure.

While the money raised has been a significant contribution towards battling muscular dystrophy, Coffin, who was diagnosed with the disease at age 14, looks back with pride on the awareness the event created.

“Over the years it’s been so awesome. We started to raise a little bit of money and create awareness about muscular dystrophy and, in the end, we did that and that’s the most important thing, the awareness and just generally getting together as a community. It was very much a community-oriented event.’’

Coffin said as time went on, running the tournament got to be a bit much.

“Years ago, you didn’t have to worry about insurance and all that stuff. We were lucky. As time goes on it became a lot more work for the event to come off.’’

Coffin, who launched the tournament with friends and fellow committee members Vin Morrison and Kent MacDonald, stepped down as chairman following the 2013 event.

Coffin’s wife, Anne, has also been a driving force behind the tournament.

“In the start, it was a bunch of great friends and then as time went on it was another bunch of great friends and they did a great job. Then, of course, I got married to Anne in 2000 and she became a very big part of the tournament. Without her we wouldn’t have been able to do and accomplish what we did.’’

The Mount Stewart and East River fire departments also pitched in. Over the last few years, East River has held a two-night camp campout on top of the Scotchfort Ultramar to raise money.

“We’ve had fabulous support.’’

Coffin said he can’t thank his wife, the committee, friends and community enough for the support over the years.

“It was a great run . . . I just can’t say enough.’’

dave.stewart@theguardian.pe.ca

Twitter.com/DveStewart

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