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It is showtime for Tyne Valley.
The West Prince community, which lost the Tyne Valley and Area Community Sports Centre to fire on Dec. 29, 2019, will be in the national spotlight as one of four finalists for the title of 2020 Kraft Hockeyville.
Voting at krafthockeyville.ca is unlimited and begins Friday at 10 a.m., Atlantic Time, and continues until 7 p.m., Saturday. The winning community, which will receive $250,000 and an opportunity to host a National Hockey League pre-season game, will be announced during that evening’s NHL playoff action on Sportsnet and CBC.
“We really need to get the message out that we need people to vote,” said Rachel Noye, chair of the fundraising committee for the Tyne Valley and Area Events Centre and a member of the local Hockeyville committee. “We need one final cry of support, please help us get there, please help us get our kids back home and please, please vote.”
The four finalists for 2020 Kraft Hockeyville:
- Pense Memorial Rink, Pense, Sask.
- Recreation Centre Marianne St-Gelais, Saint-Félicien, Que.
- Tyne Valley Community Sports Centre, Tyne Valley, P.E.I.
- George Hawkins Memorial Arena, Twillingate, N.L.
Plans, along with funding from the provincial and federal governments, for a new events centre on the site of the old arena were announced in July. The total cost of the project is expected to be $10 million and the municipal share is $3.1 million. Noye said the municipality still has to come up with close to a million dollars.
"The $250,000 gets you that much closer,” said Noye. “The other competitors have great reasons to pursue this as well. The only big difference between their story and ours is they are looking to upgrade, or repair something, and we are starting from the ground up.”
Adam MacLennan managed the Tyne Valley and Area Community Sports Centre and is a member of the local Hockeyville committee. He pointed out the Municipality of Tyne Valley has less than 300 people.
“That $250,000 from Kraft is extremely important to make sure we have a great facility moving forward and we can move along with the project in a timely fashion,” said MacLennan, who lives in Tyne Valley. “All the $250,000 is going to go towards the municipal share to help fund the project.
“In the long run, if we are successful, every time you click that button you are making a donation to the rink.”
The fire was a big blow to the tight-knit community, but a #RallyForTheValley held in the rink parking lot on Jan. 11 helped restore hope, said Noye. More than 1,000 people from across the province gathered in Tyne Valley for the rally and that support quickly extended across Canada.
"We have felt them put their arms around us and say, ‘We got you, we are going to help you get there and we are all in this together,’” said Noye.
She added there isn't anyone in the community who does not have some connection to the rink and local organizations felt the void in 2020.
Noye, who lives in neighbouring East Bideford, did not hesitate to become involved in such a major project. The work of volunteers is a staple of small communities.
“Tyne Valley has a long history of volunteerism and we start them young,” said Noye. “I have been volunteering since I have been 10.
“My kids are now part of that with figure skating and minor hockey and in rural communities, you grow up volunteering because you are always trying to help with expenses in some way or another.”
“We really need to get the message out that we need people to vote. We need one final cry of support, please help us get there, please help us get our kids back home and please, please vote.”
- Rachel Noye
Normally, Sportsnet would have crews in each of the four communities vying for the Hockeyville title and there would be a huge viewing party of the announcement, but due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, this is not possible. The local committee has been gathering content for Sportsnet, including a group of kids playing ball hockey on dirt where the old rink stood.
“I think that will be a pretty powerful message later this week when they run some of the footage of the four different communities,” said MacLennan. “I’m not saying the other three communities don’t deserve it as much as we do, but they still have a structure and we don’t.”