Robin Sharma takes one of the first shots on the new baskets at the recently opened rink.

West Quesnel Rink throws grand opening party

Excited local kids raced to use the new facilities

The hard work and determination of Colin and Edythe Ketchum as well as a host of community businesses and residents has finally paid off with the grand opening of the Lewis Drive Rink on Saturday (Sept. 8).

A gathering of a couple dozen onlookers, eager kids among them, crowded around the rink’s main gate as dedications were given for the new facility, which features all the fixings for hockey, basketball, roller derby and whatever else the imagination of a young athlete can conjure.

Colin gave profuse thanks to all who helped realize the dream his wife and he shared, and Mayor Bob Simpson followed with some kind words for the couple and all those who banded together.

“We’re thrilled because it takes a community to do these things but it takes a catalyst to bring the community together,” Simpson said referring to the spark provided by the Ketchums.

Although the project had some big name sponsors like Quesnel Rotary Club, West Fraser and Tolko, Simpson chose to single out some students from Riverview Elementary, who went above and beyond for their neighbourhood.

“Their Grade 7 students do a fundraising activity where they put themselves at risk of physical harm and made themselves the victim of the rest of the school,” he said.

The class raised around $300 for the cause through a Soak a Grade 7 initiative, where students got to dump buckets of water on the older school mates’ heads.

“They asked for a range of projects they could donate to, and I told them about this one and they were all in,” he said.

“So this truly is not just a representation of the adult community, it’s a representation of the kids who are invested in their own community as well.”

Robin Sharma, 12, was one of the first people to race onto the courts as soon as the ribbon was cut by Colin and Edythe.

After shooting a couple baskets he agreed to be interviewed.

“I think it was generous of the people who made it,” he said. “It’s great for the kids to play on.”

Sharma just moved here a couple weeks ago from Thunder Bay, Ontario and he says his family chose the neighbourhood in West Quesnel when they saw the new arena being built.

Tiffany Wainright, a member of the Gold Pain City Derby Girls, showed up in full roller derby gear.

“We’re so stoked to have this open,” she said.

A sentiment shared by many.

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