The Red Deer College Queens Hockey team always plays with a sense of purpose, but on Thursday night, that purpose and determination took on a special meaning when the team hosted their second annual Pink in the Rink fundraiser, in support of the accessible playground project at École Barrie Wilson Elementary School.
Strong fan support was a critical element at Pink in the Rink, and 892 hockey fans attended the game between the RDC Queens and the MacEwan University Griffins at the ENMAX Centrium. This set an Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference (ACAC) Women’s Hockey attendance record. With the help of Scotiabank matching funds, a total of $21,715 was raised at the event.
After regulation time and two overtime periods couldn’t decide a winner, the Griffins eventually edged the Queens 3-2 in a shootout. But the big winners on the evening were the children and the accessible playground project at École Barrie Wilson Elementary School.
“When we have the opportunity to use our game to raise awareness or funds for the community, it is a great opportunity,” says Kelly Coulter, head coach of the RDC Queens. “We want to give back to the community that supports us.”
Supporting the accessible playground project is a great fit for the Red Deer College team. “Many student-athletes work with people with disabilities, and we want to make sure that all kids have access to the same play areas,” says Coulter. “The accessible playground project is a very worthy local cause that the Queens can go see for themselves, and they are very proud to be a part of it.”
Kaely McMurtry, a fourth-year Bachelor of Education student, sees the importance of community involvement. “It’s about giving back as best that we can. The Queens volunteer in many different areas,” says McMurtry. “Some of my teammates play floor hockey with children, they read to kids, referee in the community and teach the game of hockey.”
McMurtry and the Queens see the need for the local accessible playground project. “This project is important because it’s inclusive and collaborative,” says McMurtry. “It will allow children who aren’t able to play on a regular playground to still participate.”
“Community outreach is important to our student-athletes. From attending schools, to participating in reading programs, to lending a hand, to raising funds for local charities, our student-athletes are committed to making Red Deer and central Alberta a better community. This is the second year that Pink in the Rink has given back to the community that gives so much to them and Red Deer College,” says Diane St-Denis, Athletic Director. “This year, RDC and Scotiabank chose to raise funds to help ￼the École Barrie Wilson Elementary School accessible playground project. Providing accessible learning and physical activity space is important to Red Deer College, as it is one of the core design elements of RDC’s new building.”