2010 gala legacy feature
The power of community
The last time the Hockey Canada Foundation Gala & Golf visited Edmonton, the legacy helped rebuild a pair of inner-city rinks
Chris Jurewicz
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June 17, 2019
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Colleen Fidler chuckles as she reminisces about a frigid February day in 2014 when a north Edmonton community held a grand reopening of an outdoor rink.

“I think Eberle was there. I’m not much of a hockey person,” she says with a laugh.

Yes, Jordan Eberle, then a member of the Edmonton Oilers, was there for the opening of the Beacon Heights community rink, as was Taylor Hall, and though Fidler might not have the hockey knowledge some hockey-mad Edmontonians possess, she has seen the impact that a refurbishment of two outdoor rinks has had on the community.

Fidler is executive director of the Beverly Towne Community Development Society and was a key player in having proceeds from the 2010 Hockey Canada Foundation Gala & Golf help support the Beverly Heights and Beacon Heights community rinks.

The old rink in Beacon Heights was demolished after news came of gala proceeds being used for a rink refurbishment. Fidler says the 50-year-old rink had lights that didn’t do much to help kids and adults enjoy the rink after the sun set, wooden boards that had long past their best-before dates and player benches that also needed replacing.

The 2010 HCF Gala & Golf was held in Edmonton to help celebrate the golden moments for Canada’s men’s and women’s teams at the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver while, at the same time, raising money for the growth of the game and the ever-important goal of leaving legacies in communities.

The event raised $630,000, with $400,000 allocated to one of two rinks at The Meadows, a state-of-the-art community recreation facility. In addition, $230,000 went to the rink refurbishment program of two inner-city outdoor rinks, with the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation also contributing $230,000.

Fidler, who continues to work with the five neighborhoods that make up the Beverly community, says the refurbishments have directly impacted hundreds of residents, many of whom would not have had the chance to play hockey were it not for the proceeds from the gala.

“The community includes a lot of newcomer families, a significant number of single-parent families and many who are living below the poverty line. For many of these families, there really is no chance for their kids to play hockey,” she says, noting that community members have worked together to have skates and sticks and other equipment donated for families who can’t afford them. “People still talk about how amazing the rinks are.


“It’s amazing to see how something like a rink can have such an impact on the community. It has really boosted community pride.”

That is music to the ears of Natalie Minckler who, as executive director of the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation, works day in and day out to help grow the game in her community. Minckler says the Oilers foundation, Hockey Canada and Hockey Alberta have a strong partnership that led to the successful 2010 event and has led to Edmonton playing host once again in 2019.

Proceeds from the gala will support grassroots initiatives through the Oilers Learn to Play program and Hockey Alberta’s Every Kid Every Community initiative.

Oilers Learn to Play is designed to introduce young players to the game of hockey and helps break down common entry barriers by providing participants with new hockey equipment and on-ice instruction from Oilers alumni and local hockey coaches. The Every Kid Every Community program started in 2011 and has similar objectives of ensuring any child with an interest in hockey has the chance to play.

Minckler hopes Edmonton can build off the success in 2010.

“In 2010, it was a huge event for Edmonton, Edmontonians, and the entire community celebrated with Hockey Canada and the teams that came,” she says. “It was a wonderful celebration to bring the entire community together. So we’re looking forward to doing that again at Rogers Place. We’re looking forward to welcoming people to our community. When a community is fortunate to host these events, it helps to bring us together, while generating some important dollars to invest into that community.”

Minckler is well aware of the power that the game of hockey holds for Canadians and sees the community rinks and The Meadows as facilities that bring together Edmontonians from all walks of life.

“With our Oilers and Oil Kings, there is so much excitement around the teams. Culturally, when you move to Edmonton, you realize soon that hockey is a religion. It’s something that people just congregate to and want to feel a part of,” she says. “Edmonton is very much a melting pot of different cultures and we have an opportunity to introduce this great game to people. It’s part of what our foundation does; introducing the game to people that don’t have the opportunity or even the chance to go skating.”

For more information:

Esther Madziya
Coordinator, Media Relations
Hockey Canada
403-284-6484
[email protected]

 

Spencer Sharkey
Coordinator, Communications
Hockey Canada
Office: 403-777-4567
Mobile: 905-906-5327
[email protected]

 

Katie Macleod
Coordinator, Media Relations
Hockey Canada
Office: 403-284-6427
Mobile: 403-612-2893
[email protected]

 

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