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Kinistino Hockey Weekend a success

When it came to organizing a hockey weekend in Kinistino, hearing ‘no’ was only the beginning.
DCT Initation Game
The Kinistino/Birch Hills Initiation hockey team plays a game between the first and second periods of the Melfort Mustangs-La Ronge game Jan. 21, played in Kinistino specifically for their hockey weekend. Review Photo/Devan C. Tasa

When it came to organizing a hockey weekend in Kinistino, hearing ‘no’ was only the beginning.

“We had put an application in for the SHA [Saskatchewan Hockey Association] hockey day in Saskatchewan,” said Kris Babbings, the chair of the organizing committee, “and when we weren’t the successful applicant, we decided we had the plans in place and the people and the committees in place, we decided we would just go ahead and do the work on our own.”

The hockey weekend took place on the evening of Jan. 20 and the whole day Jan. 21. Along with games with the various Tiger minor hockey teams, many of which are shared with other communities, there was also a senior hockey game against Porcupine Plain, a hockey panel with coaches and former NHL players, and a Melfort Mustangs game against La Ronge.

The panel took place at a breakfast the morning of Jan. 21. Moderated by Wray Morrison from NewsTalk 650, it featured Trevor Blevins, the Mustangs’ coach; Dean Brockman, coach of the Saskatoon Blades; and Chris McAllister, former NHL player.

“They came out and just really talked about some specific changes to the game of hockey and got their thoughts on that and where they saw the game going,” Babbings said. “They also told a lot of great and entertaining stories about things they had seen and done, different run-ins they’ve had with each other.”

The evening featured a Mustangs game against La Ronge, which they won 8-2. Babbings said bringing the team to Kinistino was a matter of talking to their board of directors.

“Kinistino has been a strong supporter of the Melfort Mustangs over a number of years and there are lots of connections and ties between Kinistino and the Mustangs organization, so it was just the matter of having the conversation with them and coming to an agreement that was beneficial to both sides.”

There were live auctions both in the morning and afternoon of Jan. 21, along with a silent auction all weekend.

Babbings said he estimates the entire weekend raised within the $45,000 to $50,000 range.

“It was an extremely successful weekend and that money will all go towards capital in the arena.”

Work that needs to be done to the arena includes new piping in the arena floor, renovations to a washroom, upgrades to the ice plant and renovations to the referees’ dressing room.

Babbings said his committee hasn’t decided if it will repeat the event next year yet. The chair also thanked the volunteers, sponsors, the Mustangs and everyone else that made the event possible.

 “It was truly a community initiative.”

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