Member of the Moosomin Pee Wee Rangers got to meet a local hockey hero as they recorded introductions to two NHL games for Hockey Day in Canada.
The players taking part in the event got to meet Edmonton Oilers Defenseman Ethan Bear from Ochapowace and ask him any questions they might have.
Bear has started his NHL career with the Edmonton Oilers under head coach Dave Tippett, originally from Moosomin
“That was amazing,” said #4, Devin Venaas. “I asked him what stick he was using.”
Other players asked about Bear's favourite jersey.
“We asked him lots of questions and my question was ‘what was his favourite jersey?’” Dane Thorn said. “He said his was the new ‘Reverse Retro’.”
Some players were just excited to be there to enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience.
“It was really cool, we even got to meet Ethan Bear. We recorded the whole conversation with Ethan Bear and we were recording our lines which was ‘welcome to Hockey Day in Canada’,” explained Luke Holman.
Even those who are not Oilers fans enjoyed meeting Bear during their recording session.
“It felt pretty good. It’s going to be pretty cool because not many kids get to do it in their lifetime.” Commented Kendry Lewis.“I’m more of a Pittsburgh kind of guy but it was still pretty cool for me.”
Despite all the changes due to COVID-19 restrictions, Moosomin Minor Hockey has worked to adapt to the new normal and keep the players on the ice while many other communities have been unable to do so.
“Its been a very frustrating time just with all the changes and everything. We’ve had to pump up our board meetings quite frequently so that we can get things going. But obviously with no tournaments or games anymore, there was no money coming in,” explained Thorn, who is treasurer for Moosomin Minor Hockey.
She explained that pandemic restrictions have made things difficult for everyone from parents to players and staff, but despite all this they have been able to manage.
“It’s been challenging but it’s been really rewarding at the same time. I know a lot of people have expressed their gratitude towards us to keep it going, while there’s towns and cities who haven’t even set foot on the ice. It’s nice to say we’ve been able to accomplish that, keeping the kids on the ice.”
While there has been less income brought in due to the pandemic, both the Town of Moosomin and Moosomin Minor Hockey have worked together to stay afloat.
“We did have a small reserve that we did set aside, not necessarily thinking for a pandemic, but for an emergency. A lot of those funds were used to keep the ice going,” Thorn added.
In addition to the small fund that was set aside to help in the case of an emergency, Thorn expressed her gratitude towards the town and the efforts they made to help through the restrictions caused by the pandemic.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic had struck, the ice rates had gone up for the teams by a small margin. When the pandemic hit, however, Moosomin Minor Hockey asked to have the rates reduced to what they were before the increase in order to help alleviate some financial burden.
The town didn’t do that—but instead cut ice rates in half.
“We were just asking for that little bit that it went up and they gave us way more than that,” said Thorn.
This reduction in costs allowed Moosomin Minor Hockey to continue operating and keep the kids on the ice, something that Thorn says is important to her, as her own children play.
“That was a huge thing for us, with the town of Moosomin reducing our ice rates by 50%, it has really enabled us to keep these kids on the ice” Thorn explained. “If we had to pay the full ice rate we probably would have shut it down at the beginning to January.”
Thorn thanked the town for their efforts and explained that they would not be able to keep the 200-odd players on the ice if it weren’t for this additional funding.