STIRLING – A once-in-a-lifetime event was held Saturday at the Stirling & District Recreation Centre, and the arena may never see something like it again.
Kelly Sage, who has been involved in hockey since she was just four years old, skated out onto the ice – but this time, she wasn’t wearing a jersey. She was doing something she had been telling the arena manager she’d do ever since she was a child. Wearing a tiered white dress, her hair done up, and tears in her eyes, Sage was getting married.
Her father Grant skated onto the ice with her, giving his tearful daughter a tight hug before giving her away to her husband-to-be, Andrew McCracken.
Wayne Sollows, the officiant of the wedding, was dressed from head to toe like a hockey referee. “This is the first time I’ve been a referee at a wedding,” he said before beginning the opening blessing. “So I hope I don’t have to send anyone to the penalty box for unsportsmanlike conduct.”
Everyone in the stands, who had donned hockey jerseys to keep warm in the arena, laughed. The wedding was open to the public, and the stands were as packed as any hockey game would have been.
The ceremony began with a blessing, and progressed with the readings of a Bible passage and a poem. It went on as anyone would expect a wedding to go, with the declaration of intent to wed and exchanging of vows and rings. The officiant announced Sage and McCracken as a couple and the goal horn sounded. The crowd clapped for the newlyweds as McCracken got on a pair of skates so he and his wife could skate around the arena once, then off the ice with the wedding party. When everyone returned, they wore hockey jerseys and posed for photos.
Shortly after the wedding ended, the arena got back to its normal business: a hockey game broke out.