Emergency responders from Athabasca and Boyle converged at the Millview Recreation Complex Feb. 2 to take part in the Seventh Annual Rod Winder Memorial Emergency Services Hockey Game.
Since the memorial hockey game started in 2013, Boyle has won every single year. This year, Boyle took the trophy again, winning by a score of 19-13.
Organizer Hillary McLean said the game was first developed after the passing of the Boyle Fire Department’s former chief Rod Winder.
“The communities came together to create this event where the Rod Winder Memorial Scholarship worth $1,000 to an individual,” McLean said. “To apply, they would have to be a member of the community, and show volunteerism and interest in emergency services, whether that be fire, EMS or law enforcement.”
McLean said she was actually the first person to have received the Rod Winder Memorial Scholarship.
“I guess that means it’s come full circle for me,” she said. “Last year, Nathaniel Borys of Athabasca won the scholarship, and he was playing in the game Feb. 2 for the Athabasca team.”
She added that she knows from personal experience that $1,000 dollars can go a long way for a student making their way in school.
“It’s just that little extra help for text books or even tuition,” McLean said.
Borys said it felt great to give back to the cause.
“I used the money to help me obtain my EMR training, which basically makes me an entry-level paramedic,” he said. “I’ve played with the team for two years, and it’s good to give the people wanting to go into emergency services a chance to be able to afford their schooling.”
Despite the fact that Athabasca has never won this game in any year, McLean said they still keep coming back.
“I think that’s because the money goes to a good cause,” she said. “The money from this game goes into the scholarship to top it up. The game also a promotion of being in the community and bringing our emergency responders back after their training.”
Fans enjoyed watching
Fans both young and old turned out to watch the big game.
Helena Peters came to the game with her husband and three sons.
“It was also our first time at the Millview Recreation Complex period,” Peters said. “I was impressed with the play on the ice, and I am glad to see that Boyle won the game once again. I do hope to make it to next year’s game in Athabasca as well.”
Tara Laroue, another spectator, said it was a great community event, both for Boyle and Athabasca.
“This is also my first year attending this game, but I will definitely be coming back next year,” Laroue said. “It’s also good for our community members to see their emergency responders in a different light, out of uniform and having fun.”
EMS member Alex Robb was on duty at the rink during the game in case somebody got hurt on the ice/
“I got to take care of these guys while they play,” Robb said. “It’s my first time here, and I really enjoy the game.”
Maranda Bishop, another EMS member, has been attending the game for about three years now.
“It’s the same old, same old for the most part,” she said. “It’s just boys out having fun and enjoying each other’s company.”
Bishop added that in the end, it is all about enjoying the game.