Ste Anne hosting ball hockey arena fundraiser


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The battle to save Ste Anne’s hockey arena is continuing on, despite losing out on Kraft Hockeyville.

The community is planning a large rally, centred around the Neal Stoez Memorial Ball Hockey Tournament May 27. Festivities include a pancake breakfast (8 a.m. – 11 a.m.) at the arena canteen, a kids’ party from 2 – 6 p.m. and a live concert and social featuring local recording artist Jason Kirkness and DJ Brenton that is set to run late into the night.

There will also be a beer gardens and silent auction throughout the day.

Neal Stoetz was a mainstay in the hockey community of Ste Anne before his death last year. The community is hosting a ball hockey tournament named in his honour to help raise money for their aging arena. (Terry Frey Carillon Archives)

It was a quick turnaround for organizers, who were behind the community’s Hockeyville bid. The results were only announced April 1. After taking a couple weeks off, they were right back to work, trying to capitalize on increased awareness in the community.

“We knew we had the momentum, and a lot of people were asking for something,” organizer Chantel Marie said.

“We said ‘why not,’ we have (the momentum), let’s roll with it.”

Marie said community support has been “tremendous,” with local and regional businesses chipping in to support their efforts. An anonymous donor has committed to match dollar-for-dollar any funds raised on May 27, meaning a $30 concert ticket will put $60 towards the arena efforts.

“Everybody is stepping up, and local businesses especially have been stepping up,” Marie said.

“It’s been amazing… Everybody wants to be involved, everyone wants to help.”

Ice plant renovations are anticipated to cost around $300,000. By making the final four of Kraft Hockeyville, the community received a $25,000 grant.

“We want people to have fun, but lets raise the funds that we need for our arena in the process,” Marie said.

“We don’t want this to feel like work for anybody.”

If anyone wants to support the fundraising efforts, but isn’t able to make it to any of the festivities, a $15 support ticket is available. The group is organizing on Facebook and Instagram (under the name Save Ste Anne’s Arena), and has an eventbrite page to sell tickets online. Tickets will also be available at the door.

It hasn’t just been the older generation stepping up to the plate to support fundraising efforts.

“I love how the kids in this community have been getting involved,” Marie said.

“That’s going to put Ste Anne in a good position going forward.”

Having events centred around a ball hockey tournament honouring Neal Stoez is appropriate.

The Ste Anne resident was a mainstay at the Maurice Chaput arena, helping coach, playing, even serving as minor hockey president. Ste Anne recreational services manager Sarah Normandeau said the tournament will begin with a ball drop done by Steoz’s brother.

The tournament will be one year to the day Stoez died.

“If he was here, he would have been one of the biggest supporters and planners right along side us in this entire thing,” Normandeau said.

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