Toronto/Winnipeg Tourney Honours Richard Tapper

by Stu Slayen | Aug 25, 2017
It’s an annual event that celebrates Camp Massad, community, sports, philanthropy, and leadership. Richard Tapperz”l would approve.

On two separate evenings in May, more than 60 players gathered in Toronto and more than 70 in Winnipeg for the third annual Richard Tapper Memorial Floor Hockey Tournament. Tapper, a beloved member of Winnipeg’s Jewish community, passed away in 2012 at the age of 35. 

“The idea to do a tournament in Richard’s honour actually started in Winnipeg and Toronto simultaneously. He had a lot of friends in both cities,” says Paul Chodirker, who moved from Winnipeg to Toronto with his family in 1997. “When he passed away, we all knew we had to do something to celebrate him. The tournament was a type of catharsis.” 

Chodirker, a lawyer with Gilbert’s LLP, became friends with Tapper at Camp Massad despite a four-year age difference. “He was the most selfless person I’ve ever known. He always put others first and always had a positive attitude,” says Chodirker. “His passing left a big hole. The tournament helps keep his memory alive.”

The funds raised in the first year were used to enhance and expand a cabin at Massad. In the second year, an amphitheatre was added to the cabin, now known as “Mercaz Tapper” (“Tapper Centre”). By year three, the whole project was paid for, so Massad officials and tournament organizers agreed to put all new money raised into the Richard Tapper Memorial Fund, housed under Camp Massad’s organizational endowment fund. In 2017, about $8,000 was raised (about half in each city).

“Richard was a Massadnik through and through – a truly dynamic personality,” says Danial Sprintz, Massad’s Executive Director. “He always wanted to inspire young people to think more about leadership and community. He embodied everything Massad stands for: Jewish identity, creativity, inclusiveness, and kindness.”

Tapper, who at one time was the youngest signer in the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba’s Endowment Book of Life, was a respected chiropractor and a great athlete.

“Richard devoted himself to bringing out the best in others,” adds Sprintz. “I think Paul and 130-plus floor hockey players are evidence of that.”