February 13, 2018 6:27 pm

Making ice for Royal Kingston Curling Club was labour of love for Rod Leeder

After 42 years on the job, Rod Leeder was forced to retire from the Royal Kingston Curling Club due to health issues.

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It’s called an appreciation night for Rod Leeder, but it’s much more than that.

On Saturday, the Royal Kingston Curling Club will hold a fundraiser for their longtime ice-maker who has been forced into retirement because of some serious health issues.

“I started curling here 40 years ago and Rod is the only ice-maker I’ve ever known,” said club member Tom Mercer.

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“Over that time, we became good friends and he did a heck of a job. I watched him learn and he never stopped trying to be the best. He is one of the better ice-makers in this part of Ontario, and I don’t think he ever got the proper recognition. To come to work every day for 42 years and take the criticism that he took, but he took it in good humour and it’s a great example of what an ice-maker should be.”

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Former club manager Joe Jackemack concurs. “To put up with all that criticism, he had to enjoy what he was doing. He loved being around people and he made a lot of friends by doing that. He was just great to be around.

“I started managing the club in 1985, so Rod and I have known each other since then. When I first came to the club, I told Rod that my job was not to tell him how to do his job. You know what you have to do and I know what I have to do and since that meeting, it was a fantastic working relationship.”

READ MORE: Rising energy costs could force Ontario arenas and curling clubs to close

Saturday’s appreciation night at the Royal Kingston Curling Club for Leeder and his family will start at 7 p.m.

“The guy has been here for 42 years,” said Mercer. “We just want him to know that we’re thinking of him and we thank him for everything that he has done.”

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