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Stirling looks for Hockeyville crown

BELLEVILLE, Ont. (23/01/12) - Adam Haley and a team of volunteers work on the Stirling Hockeyville tractor trailer on Saturday, Jan. 21, 2012. The finished mural will be displayed near the 401 with the hopes that it will drum up support for the town's bid on the Kraft Hockeyville 2012 title. Photo by Sarah O. Swenson.

By Sarah O. Swenson

“Everyone in the town, whether they be an 80-year-old person or a five-year-old kid, they all live for hockey.”

It is that simple reason why Adam Haley believes Stirling-Rawdon should win the title of Kraft Hockeyville 2012.

The local Hockeyville movement began in spring 2011, after the passing of Barry Wilson, the longtime arena manager of the Stirling/Rawdon & District Recreation Centre. With more than 1,000 people attending the funeral, Wilson’s passing served to clearly illustrate how important hockey and the arena are to the community.

Wilson had begun planning the expansion of an addition to the Stirling arena and winning the Hockeyville competition would help to make those plans a reality. Stirling is vying for the chance to win $100,000 in arena upgrades and the opportunity to host an NHL pre-season game. So far, there are 144 communities that have qualified for the competition.

Stirling is using the motto ‘Play together, stay together’ as the centerpiece of their campaign.

“We used to go to church, take them to Sunday school, pack a picnic lunch, then go from the church to the arena,” recalls Haley’s mother, Bev, unconsciously referencing Roch Carrier’s most famous line from The Hockey Sweater.

“If you’re not playing hockey, you’re at the arena, watching.”

“The whole community, everyone supports hockey,” agrees Haley, who played in the Stirling Blues Minor Hockey League Association until he was 20 and now plays in a local recreational league.

The community has embraced the Hockeyville challenge whole-heartedly, hosting fundraisers and events such as hockey-themed scarecrows at Halloween, floats in Christmas parades, toque sales, a Kraft Dinner luncheon.

Haley’s contribution to the cause: painting a large Stirling Hockeyville mural on the side of a 38-foot long tractor-trailer.

In November, the Stirling Hockeyville Facebook page posted a want ad, looking for a local artist to come up with a design for the trailer, and Haley volunteered immediately. He began working on the project over the Christmas holidays and estimates that he has put in more than 40 hours of work. The trailer will display the logos of the Stirling Hockeyville bid and the Stirling Blues, as well as a message seeking public support for their campaign.

The trailer was donated to the Hockeyville cause by Choice Reefer Systems Limited, a local food industry trucking service, and upon completion of the mural, it will be parked for display near the juncture of Walbridge-Loyalist Road and the 401.

For further information on how you can help support Stirling’s bid for the Hockeyville title, visit www.stirlinghockeyville.com.

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