The Hockey Canada Foundation announced that Merlis Belsher Place will be one of four provincial hockey initiatives to receive funds raised through its largest annual fundraiser – the Hockey Canada Foundation Gala & Golf event held in Saskatoon earlier this year.
A total of $83,272 will go towards construction of Merlis Belsher Place, with $40,000 designated specifically to accommodate the facility for sledge hockey, making it the first sledge-friendly arena in Saskatoon.
“The fact that Merlis Belsher Place will accommodate sledge hockey shows the incredible versatility and importance of this facility in its commitment to the great game of hockey,” said Huskies Chief Athletics Officer, Shawn Burt. “The Canadian sledge hockey team are reigning Olympic gold medalists, and we look forward to the many opportunities this facility will offer to develop world-class athletes and grow the sport here in our own community.”
In February, the Gala and Golf Legacy committee announced its plan to invest 50 per cent of the net proceeds from the events back into the hockey community in Saskatchewan. Jonathan Huntington, chair of the committee, said they were thrilled to be able to give a total of $333,000 towards four provincial initiatives, including Merlis Belsher Place.
“The struggle to get ice time in Saskatoon is real, so to be able to have a world-class facility in Saskatoon that gives more ice time to youth, that’s top drawer,” Huntington said. “Many communities would love to be where we are right now.”
The other initiatives that received funding from the 2017 Hockey Canada Foundation Gala & Golf event include:
- The Saskatchewan Hockey Association – for cross-ice jamborees for five and six-year-old boys and girls in 10 northern Saskatchewan communities
- The Saskatchewan Hall of Fame to upgrade its iPlex in Swift Current
- The Saskatoon Minor Hockey Association for its Memorial Cup legacy fund, which assists families with financial need to cover costs associated with the sport.