The co-ed novice Bobcats hockey team, players ages 7 and 8, raised close to $1,000 for the construction of Merlis Belsher Place. As a thank you from Huskie Athletics, on March 5 they donned hard hats and fluorescent vests and were treated to an early tour of the building—the first team to do so.
“I’m really touched at the team’s fundraising efforts and was honoured to show them around,” said Michael Jenkins, director of development of marketing for Huskie Athletics (and makeshift tour guide). “When the facility is complete, many of them will be able to practice and play on the community rink, so this was an excellent opportunity to show just where their hockey journey can take them.”
Also joining on the tour was philanthropist and founding donor Merlis Belsher, who took notice of the team’s palpable excitement.
“It's been a privilege to be involved in this campaign and see the momentum that was built in the community for this project," he said. "I knew there was an urgent need for a new ice facility, not only for the U of S, but also for community teams like the Bobcats. Their enthusiasm to play here makes it all worthwhile.”
Merlis Belsher Place will replace the aging 88-year-old Rutherford Rink with a new dual-ice pad facility and multisport complex. The facility will be home to the Huskie hockey programs and will provide practice facilities for Huskie basketball teams, as well as dressing rooms for Huskie soccer, dedicated space for campus recreation and community sports teams.
Made possible by $42.9 million in joint funding from the U of S and a variety of donors—including generous contributions from Belsher, Ron and Jane Graham, and the City of Saskatoon—the new multi-sport facility is on schedule to open later this year.