Junior A Canadians Elementary School Ticket Program
By JEFF MAGUIRE
Thanks to a local businessman the Carleton Place Junior A Canadians will be continuing their popular Elementary Schools Ticket Program this season with every student at the schools involved receiving a free ticket to a Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) game in Carleton Place.
It was announced last week that Carleton Place area resident Kevin McArthur, owner of McKay Sheet Metal and Roofing, will purchase a ticket for every elementary school pupil in Carleton Place and the surrounding district. McArthur’s generous sponsorship means a program that has proven extremely successful in the past can continue this season.
“We are thrilled that Kevin and McKay Sheet Metal and Roofing have stepped up to sponsor a program that benefits so many youngsters,” says Jason Clarke, head coach and owner of the Junior A Canadians who currently lead the overall standings in the CCHL. Carleton Place is the defending Bogart-Nielsen Cup (CCHL title) and Fred Page Cup Eastern Canadian Junior A champions.
Each school involved will be given tickets for a different Canadians’ home game with the goal being to have as many students as possible attend the contest. The school with the most participation will receive a donation from McArthur and his roofing company.
“In addition to the free tickets for each student, which ever school shows the most participation will receive a $500 donation for their athletic fund,” Clarke explains.
“This will be something really special for the kids,” says Jack Denovan the team’s Director of Minor Hockey Liaison.
Denovan notes that local youngsters are huge admirers of the older athletes and he says Canadians’ players will visit each school involved to hand out the tickets.
“The kids will have a chance to meet the players face-to-face and that’s another important aspect of this program,” Denovan adds.
Last May hundreds of youngsters lined up inside the Carleton Place arena to obtain autographs from their heroes during a “Welcome Home” party held for Canadians following their outstanding performance at the Royal Bank Cup (RBC) national Junior A championship tournament played in Vernon, British Columbia.
Carleton Place went all the way to the RBC title game and was leading the contest 3-1 late in the third period when Yorkton (Saskatchewan) Terriers mounted a comeback, scoring two quick goals to tie the game and force overtime. Terriers ended up with the extra time winner to break Carleton Place hearts on Sunday, May 18.
That experience however (the game was televised nationally on TSN) has only enhanced interest in the hockey club locally. And some of the most enthusiastic fans are elementary school students.
“The aim of this program is to have a positive impact on the students in general and on all sports, not just hockey,” Clarke states.
McArthur, the program sponsor, says the importance of amateur athletics such as minor hockey is what got him involved.
“I grew up in Renfrew and I played my minor hockey there. I used to play against Carleton Place teams in those days.
“The friendships you develop in minor hockey can last a life-time. I am still friends with some guys I played with when I was eight years old.
“It’s about much more than hockey. It’s about building relationships and learning life skills,” McArthur states.
“Now we live here and have two boys playing minor hockey in Carleton Place. Much of our social life revolves around the rink. There are many good people involved in minor hockey and we have made a lot of friends as a result of minor hockey,” the businessman underlines.
“When I spoke to Jason and he asked me to get involved in this program I was very happy to do so. It is great to get local kids into the rink, including some who might not be able to afford to attend a (Junior A) game otherwise.
“We are fortunate to have such a high level of hockey being played in our community,” McArthur remarks.
McKay Sheet Metal and Roofing, based at RR 2 Lanark, is a 41-year-old company. McArthur purchased the firm eight years ago following the retirement of the former owner. He currently has 12 full-time employees.
“We are a year-round business. We do residential and commercial work and are known for installing and repairing flat roofs and steel roofs, even in the winter. Most companies don’t stay open all year round. But if you need a new roof or have a problem in the winter, we are available to service you,” he explains.
The school ticket program McArthur is sponsoring begins in November and will involve all of the elementary schools in Carleton Place, Beckwith Township and the Town of Mississippi Mills.
“I grew up in a small community. Now I live and work in a small town and I think as a business we should give back to the community we live and work in,” McArthur states.
Clarke says any program involving local schools is extremely important to his organization.
“Our players have to attend school. It is mandatory,” he states. Canadians employ an education director whose job it is to ensure all of the players are attending school and progressing in their studies.
The objective of most players in the Junior A league is to win full scholarships to major American universities and colleges where they can combine their sport of choice with education. Last season Canadians’ players accepted scholarships worth a combined $1.5 million U.S.
For additional information on the Carleton Place Canadians, the CCHL and this program visit the team website at: www.cpcanadians.com or the league site at: www.centraljuniorhockeyleague.ca