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A B.C. minor hockey association is apologizing for including two cannabis prize baskets in a club tournament raffle over the weekend, at least one of which was claimed on behalf of an eight-year-old boy.

The Dawson Creek Minor Hockey Association issued the apology as part of a statement posted to their Facebook page on March 3, following a complaint lodged by the boy’s grandfather, Grande Prairie resident Keith Redl.

“It was not our intention to upset any of the attendees at the event and we apologize for anyone who was offended by the prize,” the statement says.

According to Redl, his grandson Michael was between games at the Dawson Creek tournament when his father, Brad, gave him “$10 or $20 worth of tickets” to enter into the fundraising raffle at the event. Before the end of the last game, Brad got a phone call that Michael had won a prize and went to claim the winnings — a basket of chocolate edibles and other cannabis products valued at $200.

“I just found it bizarre,” Redl said, adding that the chocolate edibles confused his grandson. “Typically prizes are kid- or family-oriented … and here we are at an eight-year-old kids hockey tournament giving away drugs.

“Whoever solicited this gift or got this gift … just really dumbfounds me.”

While the statement from the Dawson Creek Minor Hockey Association does not name the person or organization that provided the baskets, it does provide some justification for the decision to include them in the raffle.

“The products did not appear on the donation table, only a photo and list of the items contained in the basket,” the statement says. “The raffle winners were told the basket contained cannabis products and [were] given the option of not accepting the prize. The winners chose to take the prizes, their identification was checked to ensure they were of legal age, and the donor took them outside the event to deliver the basket.”

The statement also says that the association has reviewed the policies of BC Hockey and the B.C. Gaming Policy and Enforcement Branch, “and found no mention of cannabis being a restricted item as a raffle prize.”

In turn, Redl said steps should be taken to prevent this from happening in the future. He said he has contacted his Member of Parliament, Chris Warkentin, and is awaiting a reply.

“There needs to be changes in our legislation since we’ve legalized [cannabis] to protect our kids,” Redl said.

Black Press Media has reached out to Warkentin for comment.

In the meantime, Redl said the Grande Prairie Minor Hockey Association has reached out to his family and offered to put a replacement prize basket together for Michael.

The family was not told what the basket will include, he said, “but [he’s] sure it won’t have pot in it.”

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