After almost a three-year hiatus, the Brampton Khalsa Cup is back to give back to the community.
The charity ball hockey tournament, which began seven years ago, brings players from across the Greater Toronto Area to Brampton arenas. Since its inception, it has raised thousands of dollars for various charities.
This year, all proceeds will go to Khalsa Aid Canada, the Canadian chapter of the international non-profit humanitarian organization.
“The goal here is to bring the community together through sport,” said Jaskaran Sandhu, one of the tournament organizers.
18 teams, 400 players
And it’s incredibly popular. The Khalsa Cup brings together 18 teams and more than 400 players in a four-day tournament held at the Century Gardens Recreation Center. The tournament final will take place on Sunday.
Sandhu and fellow tournament organizer Jaspaul Singh say the event celebrates the community’s passion for hockey while promoting Sikh principles of is going — selfless service to the community. As Brampton is home to thousands of hockey-loving Punjabi Sikhs, it’s a perfect combination, they say.
“Seva is a very important aspect of giving back to the community and coming together,” Singh said. “Now all of our players are back, the teams are back, everyone is excited, there’s a lot of passion and we’re supporting a charity. That’s what it’s all about.”
JC Gill, who plays for Jatt HC, said coming back after the pandemic means a lot to him and his team. He hopes his team wins this year’s tournament, but more importantly, he sees the Khalsa Cup as a vehicle to promote hockey in the community while giving back.
“It brings a lot of fairness and inclusion to the sport of hockey,” he said. “It brings the community together from all over the GTA.”
Gurpratap Singh Toor, a Khalsa Aid Canada volunteer, said the tournament not only pays off for the organization, but showcases Brampton’s sporting talent. Funds raised from the tournament will go directly to the community, he said.
“We have a lot of talent in Brampton, especially in sports,” he said. “Ball hockey is a big sport here.”
Khalsa Aid nominated for Peace Prize
Khalsa Aid supports victims of natural and man-made disasters around the world. This includes Brampton, where in February 2022 he worked with the city and emergency services to provide emergency kits to flood-affected residents in the Churchville area.
“Whenever there is a need in the city of Brampton, we work with the authorities and we are always there on the front line,” Toor said.
The organization’s work has been highlighted by several Canadian politicians. Last year, Khalsa Aid was nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize by Edmonton Mill Woods MP Tim Uppal, Brampton South MP Prabmeet Sarkaria and Brampton Mayor Patrick Brown.
It’s no secret that many Sikhs love hockey, Sandhu said. Hockey Night in Canada has its popular Punjabi-language show, run by sports broadcaster and journalist Harnarayan Singh. Whether on the ice, in the field or on foot in ball hockey, it’s popular throughout the Brampton community.
“You’ll see a strong hockey culture here, and that’s special, something we need to celebrate,” Sandhu said.