The holy grail of Canadian football will be on show in Marshall on Oct. 1, as the town has won a Grey Cup Festival Community Celebration.
The distinction comes with a $25,000 grant for their rink from Richardson Pioneer. Five other Saskatchewan communities are getting this benefit after sending submissions for their community projects.
The Grey Cup Festival party will also include Gainer the mascot, Saskatchewan Roughrider alumni and Rider cheerleaders.
Marshall community member Berna Huber shares the excitement of what this means to the community.
“It’s awesome that it’s happening and the kids can get out and use the rink more. Maybe we can get it rented for functions. It will really bring us all together.”
For the importance of a community rink in small towns, Marshall is also the hometown of NHL goaltender Braden Holtby who is currently guarding the crease for the Dallas Stars.
The day begins at 9 a.m. with a pancake breakfast hosted by the Legacy Regional Protection Services who will also host a number of fire department games. The organizing team will lead a barbecue lunch from about 11 a.m. The parade follows at 2 p.m. with some Lloydminsterites joining including the Holy Rosary School band and Jus’ Crusin’ cars. The Rider Die Outhouse race is also on the cards from 3 p.m. The day wraps with fireworks and then a dance at the rink.
Upgrades to the rink include larger change rooms and easier access to the facility for players and spectators, as well as work to allow for more year-round use of the rink by the community.
Assistant vice president with Richardson Pioneer Neil Banbury says it’s a wonderful initiative that they’ve been able to partner with the Roughriders organization on. He says there were over 60 communities that submitted entries and it was hard to get the final six.
“Just participation within the community and the effort of the organizing committees from these six communities; the initiatives that they put together and the overall community involvement. And some of it was showing their Rider and Grey Cup spirit.”
Banbury noted the importance of the community rink as a gathering space for small towns and surrounding areas saying that it’s great for families to get out and just have a skate, apart from playing hockey or shinny.