Brady Stark | Team Member
In 2006, Tyler Mrkonjic lost his hockey mom to a terrible disease known as ALS. ALS (Amyotropic lateral sclerosis) is a disease that systematically shuts down neurological functions throughout the body until the person eventually stops breathing.
Ever the fighter, Mrkonjic took the passion that he got from his mother to propel him to an elite level in the sport that his family loves. Currently in his second year with the Prince George Cougars, Mrkonjic has made himself a home with the team and has been a fan favorite since he stepped on the ice. On March 7, it was the Cougars’ turn to fight with Mrkonjic against a battle his family has been waging for nine years. The Mrkonjic family set up a charity to help in the aid of ALS research in the name of his late mother: Shelly L Mrkonjic.
On a night where the Cougars were fighting for their playoff lives, hockey took a backseat to the noteworthy cause. Cougars’ owner and President Greg Pocock came up with the idea of making the earnings from the 50/50 draw go straight into the charity instead of usually going to support minor hockey in P.G. In any given 50/50 draw throughout the year, the pot would grow to an average of $4,000. To make sure that the Mrkonjic family knew that they were going to be supported in their cause, Mr. Pocock donated $25,000 to get the ball rolling. Stirring an immediate frenzy since announcing the boost in 50/50 sales, people came in droves to see the Cougars take on the Victoria Royals and support a hometown cause. The Cougars organization braced for the onslaught of people wanting to buy their tickets as over 5,000 fans filled the arena. Once in the CN Centre, people could hardly move as everyone was lined on to get their 50/50 tickets during the 1st and 2nd intermissions.
During the game, the Cougars would put up the 50/50 amount on the jumbotron, and as fans watched the amount went sky high. By the end of the second period, the 50/50 officials had to stop sales because the machines were being over-worked. The final amount for the draw was $67,066, a franchise record. On a night where the Cougars stole a point from the Royals, Shelly. L. Mrkonjic stole the hearts of a great town, as her charity was the real winner in a fight that keeps her wonderful memory going.