One of the first things you see when you turn off the highway and drive into Tyne Valley is the ice rink. Or at least it was until December 29 when the structure was destroyed by fire.
Headlines across the country echoed the devastating loss to the rural Prince Edward Island community of about 800 residents.
National exposure won’t rebuild the more than half-century old structure but ‘Rally for the Valley’ certainly opens the gate for fundraising efforts to see the construction of a new rink.
On Saturday, more than 1,000 people from the Prince County community and other Island locales poured into Tyne Valley in a show of support.
The community will need that energy and enthusiasm in the coming days as it faces off in the Kraft Hockeyville 2020 contest.
Winning could mean a grand prize of $250,000, which would go a long way towards the fundraising committee’s goal of raising upwards of $1 million for a new sports centre in Tyne Valley.
Along with Island-wide support Tyne Valley can draw on the inspiration of neighbouring O’Leary which in 2017 won the contest.
Additional endorsement has come from Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia. A fellow Maritimer there says he wants to withdraw his nomination that would put his own rink in the Kraft contest and transfer his backing to Tyne Valley.
So powerful is the bond within the hockey community that selfless acts are often commonplace when the chips are down.
Arenas aren’t simply ice surfaces sheltered overhead by steel beans and a metal roof - they are home to pride, sportsmanship, community and commradary.
Islanders from tip-to-tip will have an opportunity to show their support for O’Leary when the Kraft contest goes to the voting stage.
As Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss one hundred percent of the shots you don’t take.”
Good luck to the folks of Tyne Valley on their shot for some major funding through this national contest.
A winning weekend for all
A special nod also goes out to Mike Annear and a host of volunteers who sold 50/50 tickets at the Norsemen Memorial on the weekend.
The amount raised, more than $7,000, was impressive but what was really awesome was the fact people from across the country and even Australia sent along their support through e-transfers.
A portion of the money will go to the Mount Hamilton-Montague Pee Wee hockey exchange. It’s Montague’s turn to travel to Ontario this March Break so the team and volunteers are actively fundraising.
Thanks to Mike for giving shout-outs on Facebook to all the supportive folks, many alumni of the exchange.
Well done everyone.
Heather Moore is editor of The Eastern Graphic. She can be reached at email@example.com