Valour holds 16th Annual Thomas Sterling Memorial Student Teacher Hockey Game

Community News

By: Gary Serviss

Posted on Thursday, April 28, 2016

Every year for the past sixteen years, on the last day before March Break, staff and students of Valour JK-12 School (formerly General Panet High School) have been gathering at the Silver Dart Arena (now the Petawawa Civic Centre) for a hockey game that features the graduating class versus the teachers.  The entire student body makes a donation to the Canadian Cancer Society and heads to the arena to catch some exciting action. 

The game began in 1999 as a fundraiser for the Canadian Cancer Society and in 2002 a special trophy was made in honour of Thomas Sterling and all funds raised were then donated to the Canadian Cancer Society in his honour.  This year, $600 was raised from donations by Valour JK-12 students and from 50/50 ticket sales. 

Thomas Sterling was a Grade 9 student at General Panet High School in September of 2000 who was tragically diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.  Thomas lost his battle with the leukemia in November of 2000 at the age of 14. 

Thomas was born and raised in Petawawa to parents Carol and Blake Sterling and is remembered fondly by his sisters Allison and Jennifer and brother Jeff.  He was an avid hockey player, a huge fan of the Detroit Red Wings and pegged Steve Yzerman as his favourite player.  Thomas loved the outdoors, playing countless hours of road hockey and also loved to fish. 

Thomas would have turned 30 on this past February 25.  The Sterling family was asked what this annual game means to them: “This annual hockey game is special in so many ways.  Jennifer is a past student and graduate from General Panet and the support she received from the staff and students when Thomas passed away was heart-warming.  It meant a lot to us when the hockey game was renamed in Thomas’ memory."

“A small school came together and proved that they have a big heart.  Even though the students today do not know who Thomas was, they know that they are playing for a great cause and enjoy playing against their teachers. 

“We look forward to this game every year and want to thank the staff and students that take part and for their donation to cancer research and support programs in Thomas’ memory.” 

This year the game was played at 1 p.m. on Friday, March 13 at the Petawawa Civic Centre.  Unfortunately for the students the teacher team prevailed again, beating the students 5-2 in front of a packed house of over 500 students. Better luck next year, students.  This year is the 16th anniversary of the game and Valour JK-12 School is proud to ensure that the legacy of Thomas Sterling will live on in our hearts and minds forever.