Thousands of people flocked to the charcoaled remains of the Tyne Valley Community Sports Centre on Saturday morning chanting in the parking lot, “Rally for the Valley”.
It was far more than just a "sheet of ice", said resident Daniel Grigg.
The Tyne Valley volunteer firefighter remembers battling the raging flames that engulfed the sports centre, located along Route 12, in the early hours of Sunday, Dec. 29.
“We all grew up around this sports centre and remember as kids running and playing here. Now as a parent, I’ve created new memories with my children playing hockey here, and those in the community hope to continue these memories through the generations,” said Grigg.
"It’s amazing the amount of support the Tyne Valley Fire Department received during and after the fire. The support came not only from our community, but from O’ Leary, Lennox Island, West Point, Wellington and Summerside. It was very heartfelt.”
Winning the Kraft Hockeyville grand prize of $250,000 would go a long way towards the fundraising committee’s goal of raising upwards of $1 million to build a new sports centre.
“We hope to get the facility rebuilt soon, so these treasured memories that bring the community together can continue,” said Andrew Morrison, a Tyne Valley volunteer firefighter who was representing his department at the rally.
“It’s great to see the support of people from across the province. Everyone from the community has a story related to this facility, whether it’s the annual Tyne Valley Oyster Festival, playing hockey, ice or figure skating, even parents and grandparents have a story here," Morrison said.
“This rally is a show of strength and support.”
Hockey teams from across the province came by the busloads, including nine-year-old Ryan Hutchinson and his mother, Kim.
“Ryan played with the Tyne Valley Atom Boys team, and his sister came here to figure skate, so it’s an important centre for us and we only live five minutes down the road," said Kim.
"When we heard the sports centre had burned down that morning, we were devastated. It was the hub for many celebrations, and it brought everyone together. My son now plays hockey at The Plex in Slemon Park and out of the Evangeline Recreation Centre,” she said.
“My daughter is ice skating at the Evangeline Recreation Centre and in Alberton (the Jacques Cartier Memorial Arena). They were kind enough to share their ice with the kids, but we hope to get the attention and vote of Kraft Hockeyville. It would mean the world to this community.”
The entry period for the Kraft Hockeyville contest is now open and will end on Sunday, Feb. 9 at 11:59 p.m.
To learn more visit, krafthockeyville.ca.