Fundraiser to help finalize twinning

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A considerable fundraising milestone is on the precipice for the Okotoks Minor Hockey Association.

The OMHA committed to raise $250,000 for the twinning of Pason Centennial Arena and the association is zeroing in on that number with its third annual Jerseys & Jeans dinner this Saturday at the Okotoks Curling Club.

“It has been very successful,” said Debi Hartle with the Jerseys & Jeans committee. “This year a challenge has been that we booked it on a week where the kids are all off so lots of families are gone, but we’re very close to being sold out.

“We committed $250,000 towards the twinning. We’re not quite there yet, but hopefully at the end of this event we are.”

The fundraising dinner will feature a live and silent auction, live music from Low Tide and raffle tickets including an exclusive WestJet flight pass.

Local support has been considerable for the event with Sobeys donating the meat and Big Sky BBQ offering up its smoker. Donated items for the live auction include a backyard barbeque from the folks at Big Sky and a sports screen and custom garage package from Garage Living.

“The businesses in town have been amazing with their sponsorship,” Hartle added. “All the proceeds from this event go to that $250,000. We don’t take any from registration or anything, this is separate.”

Funds raised from the three Jerseys & Jeans events will allow OMHA to complete its commitment.

The new twinned facility will have one full-sized rink and one leisure sized ice along with office space for OMHA to work out of. It’s set to be complete by January 2018.

The new sheet of ice is vital in dealing with the considerable space crunch in the community where registration continues to increase at a rate of 8 to 10 per cent per season.

“As an organization, we continue to grow. We have been fortunate with the additional ice surface at the Pason, but as Okotoks’ love of hockey grows, we are hoping to contribute to our community by growing our local arena,” said Jeremy Gough, OMHA president. “Hockey represents our culture, our town and our community, so we want to do our part to continue to ensure that this sport brings us together.

“Expanding the Pason will ensure that excellence in sportsmanship, honesty, teamwork, competitiveness and respect for self and one’s opponents will continue.”

Currently there are over 1,350 members of the OMHA aged five to 17 and if the rate of growth continues a cap on player registration might have to occur before more space becomes available.

“The NHL sized ice they are doing will be a huge asset to OMHA,” Hartle said. “The downside is once that is finally finished we’re going to need another ice surface.

“We haven’t had to cap our association yet for the divisions and hopefully we don’t have to because we want all kids who want to play hockey to be able to play hockey.”

Those interested in ticket information or for sponsorship opportunities can do so via email at jerseysnjeans@gmail.com

For more information on the evening go to okotokshockey.com or visit the Facebook page for the event at OMHA Jerseys & Jeans.

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