Saturday, April 10, 2010

Lewis, Bates to attend Kindersley fundraiser

Dave Lewis and Kelly Bates both grew up in small town Saskatchewan and both know the importance of the local rink. That's why both felt the importance of being involved in the Kindersley minor sports dinner.

"When I was flying in from Detroit I was thinking of all the memories I have growing up in Kindersley and how important that arena was in my success in the hockey world and the places it has taken me."

Lewis, a native of Kindersley, played junior hockey for both the Kindersley Klippers and Saskatoon Blades, and remembers the old rink in Kindersley well.

"We used to skip school when I was in high school on Friday afternoons and the rink manager used to let us in and play for three or four hours in the afternoon. I remember watching the Klippers play and having a great time and doing that when I was a young guy. Being able to play with the Klippers when I was young is something I'll never forget. I had lots of friends around there. I was a rink rat and helped clean the ice. it was a different time then it is today, but it was a great experience for me."

The Kindersley Arena, built in 1955, burned to the ground on Jan. 8 but firefighters did manage to save the adjoining arena. The fire forced the Klippers to find a temporary home in Eston.

Proceeds from the dinner will go directly back to the minor sports program which offers the community hockey, baseball and skating programs.

Lewis, who played more than 1,000 games in the NHL hopes the rink can be rebuilt.

"I remember where this arena took me and I hope one day that there will be other kids that have the same opportunity that I had and enjoy and learn about themselves individually, learn to deal with winning and losing and all those things that go along with athletics, particularly hockey. It's such an important vision for small towns."

Bates, one of the newest members of the Roughriders who played university football with the Saskatchewan Huskies, grew up in Humboldt and still cherishes his memories.

"I come from a small town. I understand first and foremost the place of worship in a small town is the rink. During the winter growing up I lived at the rink and you really take it for granted. When something like this happens and you have an opportunity to contribute back to the community, it's something special."

The Kindersley sports association lost its main office, equipment room, coaches room, skating club room and the concession.

Both Lewis and Bates brought memorabilia to be auctioned off with proceeds going to minor sports.

"Anytime a tragedy happens like this it's so disruptive to community. I just want to give back to the community to help out," added Lewis.

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