Members of the Tyne Valley hockey community are rallying to get a rink destroyed by fire nominated for the Kraft Hockeyville contest.
The contest has a top prize of $250,000 to be put toward arena upgrades. The Tyne Valley Community Sports Centre was destroyed by fire early last Sunday.
"We don't have an arena now, and you know, we feel with everyone's support we have a great chance to be successful in this bid," said Adam MacLennan, the rink's manager now chairing the fundraising committee.
MacLennan said before the arena burned down there were no plans for a "large bid" for the contest because the province had already approved a major project.
"Before the fire went through the area, you know, we were already approved for a $1-million project to replace the floor," he said.
Jarod Colwill, president of the Tyne Valley Minor Hockey Association, said he thinks the area would have had a good shot at earning a nomination even if the fire hadn't happened.
He said he thinks Tyne Valley has an even better shot now.
"We are going to support the rink board in every way to get this done because our Tyne Valley minor hockey is booming right now," he said. "We have the most kids we have ever had playing hockey in the area," he said.
Even if the rink could be nominated and could go on to win the contest, $250,000 is not enough to build a new area. But MacLennan said it would certainly help.
"The rink doesn't have a lot of money to begin with," he said. "It is important for us, it is important for the rink, it is important for the community and P.E.I. come together and to be successful in helping us in the bid," he said.
MacLennan said when O'Leary was able to win the contest in 2017 the entire Island showed support, and Tyne Valley will need support at the same level.
MacLennan said the hope would be to combine money from the contest, if successful, with money raised through other community fundraising.
"We're all a bunch of younger people," he said. "We are ambitious. We are go-getters. That's what we are.
"You know, you don't know what you can do. Obviously, if we could raise a million dollars for a new rink that would be astronomical."
The contest requires a story to be submitted about the rink and what hockey means to the community. MacLennan said he thinks Tyne Valley will have no problem showing how much hockey and the rink means to the community.
The arena has a storied history. MacLennan said Gerard Gallant, who coaches the Las Vegas Golden Knights, skated at the rink when he was younger, as well as former NHL player Morgan Ellis.
"I don't think we are going have any issue demonstrating a good emotional powerful story to help us with our nomination," he said.
Nominations for the contest close on Feb. 9 and MacLennan said Islanders can help by going to the Kraft Hockeyville website or the Tyne Valley Kraft Hockeyville Facebook page.
The official kick off for Tyne Valley's bid for their rink is 9:30 a.m on Jan. 11 at the arena parking lot.
"We're hoping hundreds and hundreds of people come out to this for a large group picture showing our passion and community pride around our arena," he said.
The situation in Tyne Valley has gained a lot of attention. On Saturday night, Hockey Night In Canada gave a shout out to minor hockey players in Tyne Valley and to surrounding rinks who opened up ice times to help.
"We are very appreciative to get the word out," Colwill said.
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