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Chilliwack teen inspires roller hockey tourney raising money for Canuck Place

Markus Schouten died from bone cancer in 2022, and his friends play hockey in his memory
Friends and family remembered Markus Schouten by holding a roller hockey derby last summer. They raised $26,000 through the event and it’s returning for year two. (submitted photo)

A new Chilliwack tradition with a heartbreaking back story takes place July 29. Friends and family of Markus Schouten are holding the second Roller Hockey in Memory of Markus event, honouring a young man who lost a battle with bone cancer.

Markus was just 18 years old when he died May 29, 2022 after a 15 month fight. When his friends came to visit him near the end at Canuck Place Children’s Hospice, he asked them to play hockey in his memory.

“Markus was a gift-giver and when he was in hospice he bought gifts for some of his family members,” said father Mike Schouten. “He had a lot of special times with his buddies, and when they came to visit him he said, ‘Look guys. I really wanted to get you something but this all went way faster than I thought. The only thing I can think of is, why don’t you guys go get brand new sets of roller blades and instead of sitting around moping that I’m gone, just go play hockey.’”

The very next day they went the Cheam Sports in Chilliwack, bought their blades and played for a couple hours. From that came the inspiration for the roller hockey derby, which was put together super quick last year and still managed to be an outstanding event. Participants played for four hours straight on a hot summer day with a fundraising target of $15,000. They blew it out the water, bringing in $26,000 for Canuck Place.

This year they’re more organized. They’re adding a few more teams of people who were close to Markus, and they’ll play for six hours straight, hoping to raise $30,000.

RELATED: In memory of Markus Schouten

Schouten said Canuck Place offered exceptional care for Markus from beginning to end. When his oncologist told him he’d run out of treatment options and there would be no cure, the teenager asked how long he had.

“The doctor said, ‘Markus, we don’t know how long you have, but what we’re going to commit to you is that every day that you’re here, we’re going to make sure you live it the best way possible,’” Schouten said. “And that’s what they did. They provided that care for Markus in our home for six to eight weeks, and when the time came to go to the hospice in Vancouver, they were so loving and caring and treated him with dignity and respect.

“Even though they knew he was dying, right to the last minute they never gave up doing everything possible to ensure the pain and suffering he was experiencing was managed in a way that he could enjoy his time with friends and family.”

Schouten said last year’s event was overwhelming, mostly because it was organized so quickly, just six weeks after Markus died. He said the community rallied around it in a wonderful way, bringing barbecues for food, drinks for the players and tents to provide shade for everyone. He said it was incredible seeing how much people cared, and that’s what got Markus’s friends thinking it could turn into something pretty special.

“They recognized that in five or 10 years they’ll all have gone their separate ways and who knows where they’ll be, but at least once a year they’ll be able to come back to do this in his memory, and they’re thankful they can do it,” Schouten said. “I think if Markus could see it he’d be happy that they took his roller hockey suggestion and ran with it, and he’d be particularly touched that they’re doing it to raise money and awareness for palliative care, and the necessity of organizations like Canuck Place.”

The roller hockey derby takes place July 29, three days after Markus would have turned 20, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 5840 Blackburn Road in Chilliwack.

To contribute to the fundraising, visit


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Eric Welsh

About the Author: Eric Welsh

I joined the Chilliwack Progress in 2007, originally hired as a sports reporter.
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