For Barry Irvine, there’s no better way to spend a Sunday afternoon than in his favourite place — the arena — kicking off the Navan for Hockeyville campaign.
This is the second time Navan Memorial Centre is entering the competition.
“We came in third in Ontario last year. This year we’re trying to build on that organization,” he said.
The lifelong hockey player, coach, and scout has been involved in the sport for over 45 years and is determined to take the prize in the national contest where the winning community gets money to upgrade their arena and host an NHL preseason game.
“To win you get $100,000 and if you place in the top four (across Canada) the remaining three get $25,000 each,” said Irvine, who is co-chair of the committee.
That money could be put to good use.
In 1953, fire destroyed the community’s first arena, and about 30 years later, its replacement was deemed unsafe.
As the Memorial Centre approaches 30 years, the facility badly needs a new heating system and sound system.
And just over a month ago, fire destroyed the snack bar.
Damage was estimated between $5,000-$10,000.
From tykes to old-timers, it’s one of the only rinks in Ottawa’s rural east end.
Upgrading the facility would help countless kids, as the ice is booked from 3 p.m .to 12 a.m. seven days a week, said community association president Anne Marie Potvin.
That includes players like 10-year-old Jacob Richer, who attended the kickoff with his mom Lynne Cleroux, sporting his Cumberland jersey.
She’s hoping Navan fares better in the contest this time around and has faith in Irvine’s committee.
“We were so close last year…So I’m thinking they know what to do to make us win,” Cleroux said.
Richer, who’s been playing hockey for five years, is so confident about a victory, he’s already got his fantasy preseason game picked out.
“Senators versus Pittsburgh,” Richer said.
And he predicts Ottawa would defeat the Penguins in the match.
Irvine says it would be amazing to win, but even if they lose the competition, they’re still winners when it comes to community spirit.