Hayley Wickenheiser spoke at the first annual Raise the Rink in Blackfalds. Photo Courtesy: Facebook

Raise the Rink supports new Blackfalds skating facility

Hayley Wickenheiser lends voice to community project

The first annual Raise The Rink was held in Blackfalds in order to help support the building of a second ice rink in the community.

To kick of the soon to be annual tradition, the Dual Ice Development society welcome Canadian Ice Hockey Player/Multi Olympic Gold Medalist Hayley Wickenheiser to speak about her accomplishments.

Amber Bell, vice president and social media coordinator for the Dual Ice Development Society, said Wickenheiser’s talk was inspiring and went a long way towards building the new arena

“It was incredibly received,” she said. “We had a tonne of people that gave compliments throughout the night and I am even still hearing how great of time people had.

“For the first year, it went a lot better than we anticipated.”

Bell said many attendees came for the fun evening which included food, drinks, auctions and 50/50 draw — but everyone left inspired by Wickenheiser.

“I know everyone that heard her were blown away by her message. I had hockey coaches come up to me afterward saying they were so inspired and that they couldn’t wait to get back on the ice to coach the kids,” she said.

While final tallies of the night have yet to be counted, Bell said the Society came out on top

“We had a really great silent and live auction. We did great with our drink sales and our 50/50. I know we came out on top — we still have some invoicing to go through, but it was a success in terms of reaching our goals,” she said.

The money raised from the event will go along with a $12 million commitment from the Town of Blackfalds towards the project. Raise the Rink Attendees were able to catch a glimpse of the new facility from blueprints available at the event.

“Those can be found on our Facebook page,” Bell said, adding that the facility is greatly needed in central Alberta.

“We have practices starting at 5:30 a.m. before school because of limited ice time,” she said. “It can be hard to squeeze that in before school and work for the parents.

“We also share the rinks with Clive and Lacombe to get everyone ice time. It is very needed — not just for hockey and skating, but we also want to have the availability for more sports come in like ringette.”

Bell said that the group is fatigued after months of planning, but the success of the event means that it will be part of the community for years to come.

“We are always taking donations and Raise the Rink will be a yearly event. Even after the rink is built, we want to continue the event to help other community projects,” she said.

She added, “Thank you to everyone who came and donated. Also thank you to all of our volunteers.”



todd.vaughan@lacombeexpress.com

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