It all started with a charity golf tournament 11 years ago in which the six Sutter brothers from Viking, AB held a fundraiser for minor hockey in Red Deer. Since then the Sutter Fund has gone on to become a much larger part of not only Red Deer Minor Hockey but the community of Central Alberta, as well as all of Western Canada.
The Sutter Fund is perhaps one of the most renowned charities in Central Alberta today, having been involved in the Red Deer community since 1996. They will hold their 12th annual charity golf tournament on July 20th of this year, just another step in their ongoing support of Red Deer.
They are a non-profit organization, with no wages or commissions going to any other organization or volunteers who help to run the charity.
Brent Sutter, the owner and head coach of the WHL’s Red Deer Rebels, and the central sponsor of the Bantam and Midget AAA teams in Red Deer, as well as his brothers Brian and Brent, are co-founders of the charity.
“Brian, Brent, and their wives came to me and wanted to start a charity for Red Deer Minor Hockey” said Gord Yake, chairman and one of the key individuals responsible for the emergence of the Sutter Fund in 1996.
Since that day the Sutter Fund has gone on to donate over one million dollars to amateur sports and other projects across western Canada.
“The organization is the sponsor of all female teams in Red Deer Minor Hockey as well as the founder of the Sutter Cup”, explains Marv Seibel, chair of the host committee for the 2007 TELUS Cup.
While the Sutter Fund is a gold sponsor for the TELUS Cup, having donated more than $10,000, they are more than just hockey.
“Money raised has gone to help all sports, as well as organizations like women’s shelters, and kids’ cancer camps” says Yake.
Sponsorship from the Sutter Fund is met through local donations as well as donations received from across Canada and the United States.
Individuals involved in the NHL, NFL, MLB, and NBA, including sponsors like Michael Jordan, who co-founder Brent Sutter met during his tenure as a Chicago Blackhawk, are crucial as they donate endless amounts of sports memorabilia that help to raise money at the charity auction.
The future of the Sutter Fund is clear: “Keep getting bigger, as long as we still have volunteers” said Yake.
With the huge impact the Sutter Fund has made on the community, the charity will continue to move forward, supporting youth in Central Alberta and western Canada for years to come.