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Bert Church's annual student-staff hockey game renamed to memorialize teacher Norm Cobble

“It will now forever be Norm's day, and we wanted to honour him and his family.” 
Last year's Bert Church High School student-faculty hockey game was won by the students.

Bert Church High School's annual hockey game between students and faculty will be rebranded this year to memorialize and honour Norm Cobble, a long-serving teacher at the school who passed away last spring. 

Teacher Ryan Jones, who is helping organize the upcoming game on Nov. 25, said it was an easy decision to re-christen the hockey event as the 'Cobble Classic' in the late teacher's memory.

“He was a huge hockey guy,” Jones said of his former colleague. “He coached his daughters and several of our students. He didn’t get to play last year because of a shoulder injury, but this was always the event he would sign up for right away.

“It will now forever be his day, and we wanted to honour him and his family.” 

Cobble passed away last May, much to the shock and sadness of Bert Church students and staff. According to Jones, Cobble was a teacher at Bert Church for many years, in between stints at other schools.

“He did leave for a little bit but then he came back,” he said. “But he always looked to make sure this game was something that would happen and he always looked to build good connections with kids.

“I didn’t know Norm as well as some of the other staff members at the school, but in the staff room, he was always there to brighten the mood or make people’s day better with a joke. He was there to help kids do better at math and went out of his way to coach hockey teams outside of school.”

The annual hockey game pitting Bert Church students against their teachers has been ongoing for the last 10 years or so. Jones said the yearly event always includes a charitable aspect, and has supported various noble causes over the years. 

“[The game] initially started to help fund a school in Ghana and then it became [a fundraiser] for the Airdrie Food Bank, and the Sheldon Kennedy Advocacy Centre and the Canadian Cancer Society,” Jones said. “It’s changed every year depending on what the students wanted.”  

This year's beneficiary will be the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation, as requested by Cobble's family.

In order to play in the game, students are tasked with raising pledges for whatever that year's cause is, and the students who raise the most funds earn a spot on the team. As of Nov. 17, Jones said 20 students have raised $2,500.

As for the staff team, Jones said some teachers volunteer to play, while others may take a bit of coercing. In order to fill out the roster, he said staff reach out to the Calgary Flames alumni organization as well as a few Bert Church alumni, and parents. 

Jones added one of Cobble's daughters is also participating in this year's game, which will get underway at Genesis Place Recreation Centre at 12:20 p.m.

The Cobble Classic will get underway during the school's mid-day break, but if Bert Church students have a spare period after lunch, Jones said they (and members of the public) are welcome to make the short trek across the parking lot to check out the on-ice action at Genesis Place. He said spectators are requested to bring at least a $2 donation.

“We do have alumni who will stop by and some family members,” he said. “It’s during a school day, but as long as we know who’s there, that’s fine. It’s a really quick jaunt around the parking lot.” 

According to Jones, the faculty team has mostly won the yearly game, though he said the students won last year. 

“We ended up with a short bench because a couple of teachers ended up getting a little hurt,” he said. 

If anyone wants to get involved or donate, Jones said they can search Cobble Classic on the Alberta Children’s Hospital Foundation website. 

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