Community leagues across the city are getting support from the Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) to keep their outdoor rinks in use over the winter.
Many leagues were short on cash this year for rink maintenance, due to a lack of grants and fundraisers available during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The EOCF worked with the Edmonton Federation of Community Leagues (EFCL) to select 25 leagues in need of assistance.
“It’s vulnerable neighbourhoods. The leagues that are struggling with operational dollars,” said Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation’s Natalie Minckler.
EFCL distributed the money to the leagues to help with things like operational dollars and equipment.
“Some of the leagues just wanted to get a rink attendant to open the doors and flood the ice,” Minckler said.
“It sounds simple and straightforward for us, but it’s something they are struggling to do.”
Garth Williams with Blue Quill Community League in southwest Edmonton said they will be purchasing a new snow blower. The current one is more than 15 years old.
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“We can’t get parts for it anymore. I found out Monday that we were selected. It was a big thrill,” Williams said.
Williams said the outdoor rink is an essential activity for people during the pandemic.
“If you build it, they will come,” he said. “It really is a Canadian pastime.
“If you put a nice hockey rink out, people will be there.”
The money comes from net proceeds of the online Oilers 50/50 draws during this past summer’s playoffs.
“We’re thrilled to reinvest those dollars back into the community when the community needs it desperately,” Minckler said.
Earlier in the year, the foundation donated to Edmonton’s Food Bank and Inner City High School.
Minckler said more funding from the 50/50 will be distributed in the months to come.
“We have our eye on some significant projects. We’re not quite ready to make those announcements just yet,” she said, “But, it has been apparent for a long time that our community’s needs have never been greater.”
The Leagues receiving funds are:
- Bannerman Community League
- Beacon Heights Community League
- Big Lake Community League
- Blue Quill Community League
- Caernarvon Community League
- Calder Community League
- Canora Community League
- Dovercourt Community League
- Eastwood Community League
- Evansdale Community League
- Hairisine Community League
- La Perle Community League
- Lorelai-Beaumaris Community League
- McCauley Community League
- Meadowlark Community League
- Millhurst Community League
- Montrose Community League
- North Millbourne Community League
- Parkdale-Cromdale Community League
- Rosslyn Community League
- Sherbrooke Community League
- Southwood Community League
- Wellington Park Community League
- West Meadowlark Community League
- Westview Village Community League