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New friendships develop after Sackville withdraws Kraft Hockeyville bid to support Tyne Valley

After a fire destroyed the Tyne Valley arena, a Sackville hockey club decided to make a selfless gesture

4 min read
caption Wearing their team uniforms, hockey players from Sackville Minor Hockey and clubs in neighbouring communities showed up to the rally in full force.
Alix Bruch

Temperatures were low but spirits were high Saturday morning at the community arena in Lower Sackville, N.S., where hundreds gathered in support of Tyne Valley, P.E.I.

That community lost its arena to a fire just a few days after Christmas. Both communities submitted bids to win Kraft Hockeyville, but Sackville withdrew its bid to support Tyne Valley.

The rally brought people together from across the Maritimes, including a full bus from Tyne Valley. From entire minor hockey teams, to tiny Timbits players, to beaming parents and grandparents, the event brought warmth to an otherwise bitterly cold morning.

“It’s awesome,” said Jamie Munroe, a hockey dad with the Sackville Minor Hockey Association and organizer of the rally.

“As you can see, there are jerseys of every colour here. It’s unbelievable, really.”

caption Loud chants of “Rally For The Valley” echoed from the Sackville arena as the crowd gathered for a group photo.
Alix Bruch

Munroe is also the man who withdrew Sackville’s bid in support of Tyne Valley.

The humble hockey dad first learned about the fire in Tyne Valley when he was in P.E.I. two weeks ago for a hockey tournament with his son. At one of the games, he met another parent who happened to be a volunteer firefighter in Tyne Valley. Munroe said it was devastating to see the photos of the arena burning to the ground.

“It was a four hour ride home, and I just started thinking about Tyne Valley a lot and how they don’t have a rink at all,” said Munroe. “Our rinks need work, but they are both fully operational.”

The next day, Munroe went to the Kraft Hockeyville website and posted that he would like to retract his bid and give his rally points to Tyne Valley. If the P.E.I. town wins, the community would receive $250,000 for arena upgrades and an NHL pre-season game.

“Every time something happens in the community we always band together,” said Munroe.

“I had a son who passed away last Christmas, and the hockey community rallied around my family and helped us through it. I guess I just wanted to give back to our community.”

caption Cohen Thorne (left) and Caleb Leblanc (right) play for the Sackville Oilers Atom team. They said it was important to show up and support Tyne Valley.
Alix Bruch

The campaign, which has become known as “Rally For The Valley,” is garnering attention and touching the hearts of many people across the Maritimes.

Adam MacLennan is the former manager of the Tyne Valley arena and current chair for the Hockeyville bid. Along with over 50 others, he made the bus trip from P.E.I. to show his gratitude. He also got to meet his new friend, Jamie Munroe.

“This is crazy,” said MacLennan as he took in the vibrant scene at the Sackville arena.

“There’s so many people here we don’t even know. But that just goes to show what sport can do. What communities can do to rally and pull people together. We can’t thank them enough.”

MacLennan and Munroe have been talking every day since Sackville withdrew their bid. MacLennan said though the rink is gone, the memories will live on and he is struck by the bonds that are being made because of it.

Munroe agrees.

“It felt awesome to see the bus (from P.E.I.) arrive,” said Munroe. “It was like my friends were coming home.”

caption Sackville resident Barbie Burkert got creative showing her support for Tyne Valley. “It’s a family helping other families,” said Burkert.
Alix Bruch

Among those at the rally was Sackville resident Barbie Burkert. When she was going through a tough time in 2008, she recalled how the hockey community supported her, and, to this day, hasn’t left her side. She said she’s floored by what Munroe is doing for the people of Tyne Valley.

“I believe in community for community,” said Burkert.

“I believe we’re all put on this earth to help each other. Hockey is really about family and bringing them together in one way or another. It’s like our own church.”

The winner of the contest will be announced on March 28, but Munroe and MacLennan’s friendship won’t end there. The pair has already made summer plans for a family camping trip in P.E.I.

“The last couple weeks have been a whirlwind,” said Munroe. “It’s very humbling.”

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About the author

Alix Bruch

Alix is a journalism student at the University of King's College. She left a career in geology to play soccer professionally in Europe, before...

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  1. G

    Glynn Nordin

    Jamie, I have known for quite some time now his positivity and resilience is what makes him so unique. Jamie is a big family man who loves kids and always was in front of all his kids fundraisers and just wanting them to get the best out of like .when his oldest boy Connor passed away Jamie took that extremely hard but in light again putting his kids out to do the best they could and have fun doing it. He honours his son every day seeing a post of a song Connor wrote or someone wrote about his son. Jamie is a big advocate for mental health and wants to make sure that we do all we can to prevent mental health problems for youth and adults as well. He is a selfless person that gives his community all of him so the surprise that he has done this and brought the hockey community together in the Maritimes does not surprise me. Jamie looks for the good in everything and in a way, this is one of his ways of keeping his oldest son alive in spirit who I am sure looks over his dad and brothers and keeps Jamie going. So let's make his wish come true Rally for the Valley I hope is a win for them and their new rink but it's already a win for Jamie and Sackville minor hockey and the community of Tyne Valley.
    • J

      Jamie Munroe

      Thanks so much for the kind words Glynn. I am here crying reading this. You my friend are a gem. Again, thanks dowsn’t seem like enough.
      • G

        Glynn Nordin

        Meant what I said every community needs a Jamie .
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