Most of us have seen the television commercial. It shows a group of hockey fans shivering in the stands as they watch their local team play. That is until Mars Canada, the maker of the Mars chocolate bar, helps them build a heated viewing gallery at the arena.
Who knew the contest advertised in the commercial would hit so close to home?
The rink at the Marsh Lake Community Centre is one of just five from throughout Canada to win the Mars Play Your Part Campaign, a contest by Mars Canada.
“It’s very exciting. We’re pretty happy out here,” said Wendy Morrison, manager of the community centre. “We were competing with thousands of rinks and, really, just told our story. It is the heart of our community. It’s a pretty small rural community and the rink really brings our community together.”
The Marsh Lake Community Centre entered the contest during the summer and officially won at the start of October. However, community centre staff learned just Tuesday that because of the win the centre will receive $20,000 for upgrades for the rink.
“It’s well used. Our community has 619 people, but it gets pretty regular use,” said Morrison. “It’s used all year round. So it has a surface where we can use it for dog shows, skateboarding and all that in the summer, and skating and hockey in the winter months.”
The rink was first constructed in the early 1990s and is flooded and maintained by community members and volunteers from the Marsh Lake Fire and Rescue Society.
The rink is so important to Marsh Lake that “the community centre was built at that location because the rink was there,” said Morrison. “The rink was already the heart of the community, so that was an obvious place to put the community centre when it was built seven years ago.”
The Marsh Lake Community Society will hold a meeting next week to decide exactly how the money will be spent, but there are already some ideas at the top of the list.
“One of the big priorities is resurfacing,” said Morrison. “Because it’s so old and it’s been a while since it has been resurfaced, it takes quite a bit of time for our crews to get a good ice surface on it at the beginning of the season. It’s done by volunteers from the Marsh Lake Fire and Rescue crew that floods our rink every year and get it ready to go for the hockey season.
“And our boards are pretty worn. So that would be another bit of it: replacing our plywood boards and putting some safety features around the boards and the rink itself.”
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