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Memorial Centre enters first phase of Kraft Hockeyville competition

The Gaels Men’s Hockey team defeated the Carleton Ravens 4-1 on their way to the Queen’s Cup Final on Friday, Mar. 1, 2019 at the Memorial Centre. Photo by Robin Kasem.

Kingston’s Memorial Centre has been nominated for the 2021 Kraft Hockeyville Competition, with $250,000 worth of upgrades and an NHL pre-season game event on the line.

“I’ve been asking people to nominate the Memorial Centre because it’s a memorial to our veterans, it’s very old and a lot of us have history there, as children, growing up and so on,” said Tina Carson, who has coordinated the entry.

“In my particular case, my brothers, my father-in-law, my husband, my son and my grandson have all played hockey there or coached at one time or another,” she added.

The competition is currently in its first phase, meaning any individual or group can nominate their community rink on the Kraft Hockeyville website. Supporters have until Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021 to go online to contribute their stories and photographs to the pitch. There are currently 60 stories like Carson’s on the Memorial Centre nomination page from longtime Kingston residents and Queen’s alumni alike.

“Some of my best memories from University were from playing hockey at this rink,” says one submission from ‘Amanda G.’ “The Queen’s teams deserve an uplift at their home ice.”

“They don’t make buildings like this anymore. It needs to be preserved. It’s actually a piece of Canadian history and needs to be treated as such,” says another from Gerry S. “It is important to me because I have spent over 50 years playing in that arena.”

Tina Carson and Wayne Carson with grandchild at the Memorial Centre. Supplied photo.

Each contribution and social media share from the nomination page earns points for the entry. Submissions from hundreds of rinks across Canada are reviewed between Feb. 15 and March 19, 2021, with four finalists announced on March 20, 2021. People can then vote for the final winner from those top four from April 9 to 10. The winner is announced April 10.

Carson said she has support from City Councillor Jim Neill, City CAO Lanie Hurdle, as well as Brett Gibson, Head Coach of the Queen’s Men’s Hockey Team, one of the rink’s principal tenants.

“Support is really starting to ramp up now,” Carson said. She added that now is the perfect time for such an event.

“I think right now people have low spirits. You know, nobody has to say it, we all feel it. We’ve been through a really rough time this past year, and people need to get behind something,” she said.

She noted that an online initiative like this is well suited to the pandemic. “There’s no need for us to get together, you can use technology, get on your computer and it can happen just like that.”

“It’s fun, it keeps the mind busy, and you can engage with other people,” she added.

To learn more about the competition or contribute, go here.

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Samantha Butler-Hassan, Local Journalism Initiative

Samantha Butler-Hassan is a staff writer and life-long Kingston resident. She is a news junkie and mom who loves reading and exploring the community. This article has been made possible with the support of the Local Journalism Initiative.

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