Skip to main content
FeaturedLocalNews

Blazers on a Good Deeds rush

By March 30, 2022No Comments
Lily Rousson, left, and Ella Wutzke, of the Blazers Female U13 Team 3. Geoff Lee Meridian Source

 

The Lloydminster Blazers Female U13 Team 3 is on a public relations tear to win this year’s Chevrolet Good Deeds Cup and $100,000 towards inclusive hockey.

Stacey Brown-Rousson and her husband, Paul, helped their daughter Lily and her Blazers teammate, Ella Wutzke, campaign for votes during a presentation at the Rotary Club of Lloydminster’s Monday lunch.

The U13 team Alberta team is hoping to get the most votes in Canada by April 2 to claim the cup and the donation for Inclusion Lloydminster, their charity of choice.

The Blazer’s goal is for the city to build the new Lloydminster Place event centre into Canada’s first bi-provincial para ice hockey, accessible arena.

“We’re very excited and very honoured the girls chose our organization,” said Krystal Stewart, assistant director of Inclusion Lloydminster, who was in the audience.

“Most of the money will go towards helping make the new arena inclusive and accessible to help support our recreation initiatives.”

Stewart says an inclusive arena means everybody can access it and everybody can play. 

“It just means another way to bring our community together,” she said.

The team has already won $2,000 for Inclusion Lloydminster after being selected as the Alberta representative for the cup against 11 other teams across Canada.

Votes can be cast online here.

The $100,000 grand prize would go into arena features such as benches with level access to the ice for sledge hockey, including wider doors and removable benches that won’t impact able-bodied users.

“Everybody needs to be included in sports,” said 11-year-old Ella.

“I think everyone should have the right to play.”

Lily explained this all started when her teammate Maddi Drobot, who has three sisters who play minor hockey, mentioned her dad, Ash, is in a wheelchair and can’t volunteer to time-keep at any game they play. 

Her mom also plays hockey and he can’t volunteer at her games as well.

Ash’s plight led to the Good Deeds Cup submission that has brought the team together to make changes to the new arena, which will allow for sledge hockey and better visibility for wheelchair spectators in the stands.

“Whether they win or lose, we are just excited that there’s more awareness in our community and these young girls have already made an impact on the design of the new building,” said Stewart.

“No matter what, our community is going to benefit, even if they don’t win.”

Stacey says she is so proud of the girls on the Blazers for coming up with the idea on their own.

The Blazers met up with Mia Fairly, coach of the Cut Knife Sledge Hockey Club, to learn about accessibility in the game and what kind of things a rink would need.

They then borrowed wheelchairs and walkers from Medichair in Lloydminster and went to a local rink to check on accessibility for disabled players and fans.

They discovered washroom doors need automatic openers and flat ice for sledge.

They also found railings in the stands are at eye level, so viewing is not good for someone in a wheelchair

“They put together a presentation to the Arena Engagement Committee and that kind of got the ball started,” said Stacey.

Fairly helped the team organize a Give Sledge Hockey A Try day in January with 75 people lacing up.

One of those was 12-year-old Lily, who says it’s her favourite part of Good Deeds hockey, “because like, a whole bunch of people who couldn’t play before could try it.”

“What I learned is, in sledge, it takes a lot of arm strength, because if you fall over it’s incredibly difficult to get up and you need to use a lot of strength,” she said.

She noted from personal experience if you accidentally hit your knee with the stick, it really hurts.