Hockey marathon shoots for funds to build new multiplex in Lorette

People in Lorette, Man., are taking another shot at scoring funds to improve recreation facilities in the growing community southeast of Winnipeg.

Community has grown but recreational and after-school programs have not kept pace, event organizers say

The current Lorette Arena was built in 1964. (Radio-Canada)

People in Lorette are taking another shot at scoring funds to improve recreation facilities in the growing community southeast of Winnipeg.

Sixteen years after first holding a 36-hour hockey marathon to save the current arena — the discovery of mould threatened to shut it down — a group of residents is having another one to raise funds for a brand new arena and multiplex.

They're also doing it to raise awareness ahead of the municipal election on Oct. 24.

"The 36-hour hockey marathon group feels that the current facility is well beyond its useful life and with your support, we feel a new facility is just on the horizon," says a Facebook page dedicated to the event, which will start at 6 p.m. Oct. 12 and end at 8 p.m. Oct. 14.

"As a community, we need to come together and show our elected officials that recreational activities are very important to the well-being of our community."

​"We are in an election period and we want people to have the opportunity to interact with their representatives and candidates in a positive and respectful manner," said organizer Chris Maxemuck.

The original marathon was prompted by the discovery of mould in the dressing rooms and showers at the arena in 2000.

The municipality rented mobile trailers where hockey players could dress up outside but after two years, nothing seemed to be happening, and the arena's users feared the facility would be shuttered instead of fixed.

The marathon, which involved 40 players in total, raised just over $80,000. Not all of the money was needed for the renovations to the dressing rooms and showers, so the rest was socked away.

Since then, Lorette has grown, but the recreational and after-school opportunities have not kept pace, the organizers of the new marathon say.

"Our community needs to provide better opportunities for all of its residents, young and old," the Facebook page says.

Not only would a new multi-use community complex include an arena to replace the current 54-year-old one, it would also contain a library, gym with walking track and daycare, says a website for the Lorette Community Complex.

During this weekend's event, 1,000 hockey pucks will be on sale for $10 each as a way to support the fundraising.

"You can choose to keep the puck or donate it to minor hockey. A marker will be available for you to sign or place a positive message on it," the Facebook page says.

"The number of pucks sold will be recorded and reported to municipal, provincial and federal governments to show how committed we are to seeing this project happen."

There will also be a guestbook for people to sign as part of the call for the new multiplex.

"My only goal is to get people to work together; that's the key to all of this," said Maxemuck.

If the project is given a firm commitment from the government the marathon members "would be happy" to release the money that has been saved up since the first event, he said.

That money, with interest earned since being put away in 2002, has grown to $82,118.90 — more than the original amount.

With files from Pierre Verrière

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