By Stephen Vance, Editor
It’s no secret that I’m not a hockey guy. In spite of having been born in small town Ontario where hockey is king, in spite of the high profile the NHL has in this country, it just doesn’t grab me the way hockey does for so many others. I couldn’t tell you the difference between a cross-check and boarding, in fact I’ve never even owned skates.
That said, I certainly understand the appeal of the game, and when it was first announced that a new GMHL team was coming to town, I sensed that it would be great for this community, and that certainly seems to be the case.
The team organizers wisely embraced this community and in return they have been embraced by local hockey fans and community organizations.
The Knights have been supportive of a number of community initiatives and fundraisers beginning with their show of support for the “Big Push” initiative to raise awareness and much needed funding for prostate cancer research. In October the Knights “Pinked the Rink” in support of the Bluewater branch of the Canadian Cancer Society, and then a few weeks later they held a Military Appreciation night in observance of Remembrance Day. The team followed that with a food drive in December in support of our local food bank.
While I may not know much about hockey, I know a lot about community, and building community, and that tends to be where I focus my energy.
In their short time in town, the Knights of Meaford have certainly shown themselves to be dedicated to this community, and to lending a helping hand wherever they can.
The political types in this town pay a lot of lip-service to economic development, but you rarely hear them talk about community development. Economic development is deemed to be so important that large scale initiatives like the development of the Meaford Economic Development Strategy (MEDS) have been utilized in an attempt to map a an economic future for this community.
Not that there’s anything wrong with economic development. Obviously every community should be looking to the future in order to determine what opportunities exist in order to bolster their economic strength. But economic development is primarily focused on what outside entities may have an interest in investing in this community down the road.
But the community is here now, and shouldn’t be ignored.
While professional sport has become focused on revenue generation and multi-million dollar contracts for the best of the best, it is comforting to know that at the grassroots, the focus of teams like the Knights is on building community. Sure they want to win, they want to showcase talent, and they want to achieve. The difference with minor sporting organizations like the Knights is that they take the community along for the ride. They support local organizations, many of which in turn are better able to serve the community.
The Knights of Meaford deserve to be recognized for the major contribution they have made to this community in the few short months that they have existed.
Whether they win or lose on the ice, the Knights are winners in this community, and Meaford is fortunate to have them, and I dare say the Knights are fortunate to have a community like Meaford for its fan base.
That’s what I call a “win-win.”