Tuesday, February 16, 2010

From Calgary to Kindersley

Hockey team donates $6,000

By Jordan Hartshorn, Saskatchewan News Network; Canwest News Service

What started as a bag of paper money and spare change has become a boon for Kindersley.

Last Friday the bantam Westwood Warriors, a minor hockey team from Calgary, presented Kindersley with a cheque for $6,000 to put toward the rebuilding and refurbishing of the town's rink.

Team manager Neil Jobin had initially indicated the team would be donating $500, but after subsequent corporate and private donations the total ballooned to $6,000.

"I almost fell out of my chair," said Kindersley chief administrative officer Sherry Magnuson. "It was unbelievable.

"When we announced that, people just kind of gasped."

Kindersley has been without a rink since a Jan. 8 blaze damaged the West Central Events Centre, and resulted in the levelling of the attached Exhibition Stadium.

The SJHL's Kindersley Klippers have been playing in Eston, while minor hockey games have been moved to other surrounding communities.

Gwen Giese, a parent of one of the Warriors players, heard of the town's plight on a Calgary radio station and sent images of the charred arena to other parents and members of the team.

"The boys said, 'You know, we should try to do something,' " said Jobin. "For our kids that really struck home."

Added team captain Paul Turko: "Holy crap. I couldn't imagine that happening to a place that I would play in."

The players rounded up $250 of their own money and the parents decided to match the total. Last week, Jobin and another hockey parent, Jim LeGuilloux, spent eight hours calling businesses and people in the Calgary hockey community in the hopes of collecting more coin before stopping in Kindersley en route to a tournament in Saskatoon.

"We literally didn't have time to collect money from all the people who wanted to contribute," Jobin said.

"The bus left at nine o'clock and we had people calling us asking, 'Hey, where's your bus?' "

And the money is still coming in. Jobin said he has received more than 40 e-mails from donors pledging an additional $1,000. He plans to encourage other minor hockey teams to replicate the Warriors' efforts.

"Hockey is really one of those things that brings us together as Canadians," said Jobin.

"But more than that, though, is our ability to help each other and really that's what we're trying to do -- help the community of Kindersley get their arena back."

The National Hockey League Players' Association has chipped in as well via its Goals and Dreams fund.

With support from Kindersley natives Derek Dorsett of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Curtis Glencross of the Calgary Flames and Steve MacIntyre of the Florida Panthers, the association is going to help provide up to $30,000 worth of equipment, including nine sets of goalie gear and 25 sleds and sticks for the town's sledge hockey program.

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