ASQUITH, Sask. â€” Folks in a small Saskatchewan town are taking heart at the kindness being shown them after the theft of an autographed Gordie Howe hockey jersey threw the future of the local rink into jeopardy.
People in Asquith had planned to raffle off the jersey â€” donated by one of Howe’s relatives â€” to pay for continued upkeep on the arena and allow local kids to play hockey.
But the jersey was stolen recently from where it was being displayed in the rink, leaving volunteers at a loss to how they would be able to keep things going.
However, news stories about their plight have prompted an outpouring of good will from across the country.
Some people have called the town office, offering to donate cash.
Others have offered to donate their own memorabilia â€” including a signed Sidney Crosby jersey â€“ saying it’s more important that kids have a place to play hockey than having a memento in their basement.
â€œ(Iâ€™m) overwhelmed and humbled by how many responses we have got,â€ said Kevin Rousell, a rink volunteer. â€œHow do you say thank you to everybody? I donâ€™t know how to do that.â€
Still, the theft has had a lasting effect on community members.
Justin Wilson, a young hockey player in Asquith, said he doesnâ€™t feel as comfortable in the rink.
â€œNow that people have broken in, itâ€™s not really safe,â€ he said.
â€œI was devastated,” said volunteer Blaine Ganchar. “It basically felt no different than coming home and finding out someone had been in your house, gone through your belongings. It felt the exact same way.”
Residents still hope the case can be solved and the jersey returned.
(CKOM, CTV Saskatoon)
The Canadian Press