There’s something on the ice in Minden
|By Sue Tiffin - Staff Writer | January 30, 2014
Haliburton’s impact on the hockey world has been the buzz around town and on social media for the past few weeks, and for good reason.
Now a greater audience of people appreciates that Haliburton is home or hometown to more than a half-dozen NHL players, a legendary hockey school, and a community full of people who will, at least for some time, brave ridiculously cold weather after sundown to sit outside next to pond hockey rinks and support a local documentary about the sport they love.
While this was an exuberant weekend full of hockey in Haliburton, quietly there was something very special happening on the ice in Minden, too.
The busy parking lot at the S.G. Nesbitt arena on Sunday morning was a sign of success. It suggested that three local businessmen, who are passionate about hockey and this community, were right in thinking that if they developed a casual skills and drills hockey training series, kids would come.
And they did, in droves.
There were boys, girls, kindergarten kids, and teenagers, and they all gathered on the ice for an hour, free of charge to their parents, because the co-owners of Pharmasave and the owner of Dollo’s Foodland thought it was necessary for the community to have affordable ice time during which the young players could build their skills. The businessmen, who also have kids who play hockey and coach hockey themselves, recognized that players in other towns seem to have more opportunity to learn and practice the fundamental lessons of hockey. They thought there was an interest in our community for more ice time, but also a need for that ice time to be economical. So they decided to sponsor the skills and drills sessions for five weeks, assuming that there might be some enthusiasm for such training from the players.
This isn’t necessarily an entirely altruistic act by the coaches, of course. Their businesses names were sewn across their jerseys and are mentioned several times in this paper because of their involvement in the sponsorship of the sessions. But seeing them out on the ice with the kids, energetically shouting words of encouragement and working one-on-one with everyone they could while bending down to inspire the smallest of the kids, certainly suggests that their intentions are simply honest and generous. Because of their actions, local kids who don’t even play on a hockey team or have the resources to afford such intimate training have the chance to be on the ice, practice their skills, gain confidence, and get their stick on that puck that is often so elusive during game time.
It’s this kind of partnership between businesses and people that makes this community work. It’s the reason we know the names of the business owners, and the reason they’ll know the names of our kids as they watch them grow. It teaches us – and our kids – the value of social responsibility and of teamwork.
There’s something in the water in Haliburton. There’s something on the ice in Minden. And both communities are fortunate for it being there.
SUE TIFFIN is a reporter for The Highlander and holds the honour of being the only married reporter with a baby in the county. She returned to Minden after 16 years of Toronto and Seoul life, and is trying to relearn Canadian culture. Her dog, Jjigae, is a rare breed in Canada and tends to take up more space in the bed than is physically possible. Sue is fascinated by science and nutrition, and sometimes forgets that it’s not always a good idea to be honest.