Community members have themselves to thank for their local KIJHL team.
Chase Heat officials say the team would not have been possible if not for the outstanding generosity, help and support of locals.
Head coach Brad Fox, Larry Pittendreigh and Scott Koch provided a tour of the rink’s back stage area, including the locker room and medical area.
Fox says the locker room is an important place for the players, almost sacred in a way. He notes that it is where the players go to focus on a game, or simply bond with other players. Like the others, this room would not be available if it were not for the community.
Fox explains that many residents stepped forward to help build it into the top-of-the-line facility it is today.
“If they couldn’t provide one thing, they would donate another,” he said, explaining that folks might not be able to donate flooring, but they were able to donate wood to create the locker area.
The guys behind the team make it clear that their appreciation for their fans goes far beyond the dedication to filling the stands each week, but how well they do off the ice as well.
Fox also points out that if it were not for the team’s billets they would not be able to house most of the boys who play for the team. And if it were not for the help of people like Dr. Wayne Quinn, the team members would not get the excellent medical attention they currently receive.
While they are thankful for everything they are given, the team does not believe in only taking from their community, but, instead, try their best to give back when possible.
The team often gets together to help move furniture for the elderly, or those who just need an extra hand, when relocating.
They set up chairs and tables for events like the Remembrance Day ceremony and often attend fundraisers such as the Terry Fox Run For the Cure marathon.
They often appear in community events and try to get the community involved as they did in the Chase Country Christmas road hockey event.
“It is the community’s team,” says Fox. “It is important that we remember that and the team gives back as much as they receive.”
“The organization has been taking many steps to make the team the best it can be,” said Pittendreigh, assistant GM.
This includes the adoption of a concussion program, and specialty education opportunities for their players.
The team has been trying to sign on as many hard-hitting players as they can. However, Fox points out, the best player is not always the most talented.
In the case of Chase, the team needs to find the right players to fit into the community, he says.
“We do not have a lot of opportunity for work within the village for our players, so we need to rely on these other programs to attract players,” says Pittendreigh.
“We might not be able to give them a job, but we can give them an education and have them set up for later,” says Fox.