A Saskatchewan town hopes winning Kraft Hockeyville would help support the development of its female minor hockey program.
Lumsden is putting together an application for the Canada-wide competition.
In order to be nominated for the $250,000 prize and the chance at hosting an NHL game, the community needs to submit photos and videos showcasing the importance of the community rink.
“We are trying to get everybody and anybody who's ever had anything to do with our rink or with Lumsden to get those pictures in getting those videos in,” said Jamie Lees, who is spearheading the application.
Lees is also the chair of the Lumsden Duck Derby. Annually, spectators watch hundreds of rubber ducks splash into the Qu’Appelle River and race to the finish line. The event brings in roughly $75,000 a year and the money goes towards the Lumsden Rink. However, due to the pandemic, the derby was cancelled.
“It’s a big hit that we’re taking this year by not having the Duck Derby to support those things so that’s why we thought, what are fundraiser options that are out there?” Lees said.
Jamie Lees, inside the Lumsden Rink, is hoping the town will be selected for Kraft Hockeyville. (Claire Hanna / CTV News Regina)
Lees said Graeme Crosbie, the organizer for the Town of Pense’s 2020 nomination for Kraft Hockeyville, called and suggested Lumsden apply for the 2021 contest.
The Lumsden Rink was built in 1987 and requires hundkraft hockeyvillereds of thousands of dollars in upgrades on the roof and the ice plant. However, the town has another vision of how they would spend the money if they won Hockeyville.
“We’re really more interested in expansion. We see an opportunity to help foster the growth of female hockey,” Justin Lacelle, the President of the Lumsden Sports Association, said. “There’s no proper spaces for the female players to get prepared and get ready on the ice so that’s really our driver here”
Since 2018, the rink has added four female minor hockey teams. However, boy's hockey leagues and teams still dominate rink time. Community members, like coach Shaun Piller, are trying to make the facility more inclusive.
“The more they feel comfortable coming to play the more girls are going to start coming to play,” Piller, whose daughter plays on the Linx team.
The rink only has four change rooms. The girls have a small room, but it’s a flight of stairs away from the ice and offers no amenities.
“They’re usually forced upstairs here to the dressing room and there are no bathrooms no showers, it’s pretty cramped up here,” Piller said.
The rink has even been forced to create a makeshift change room in the lobby, with curtains creating privacy.
“Just looking at how we’re able to empower those girls and show them that their program is as worthy and acceptable as any other program,” Lees said.
“Be nice to have a proper dressing room so the girls can feel at home and feel comfortable in where they’re playing hockey,” Piller added.
Lumsden’s application for Kraft Hockeyville is due Feb. 14. The Town will find out of it has been selected as one of four finalists Mar. 20.