By: Daniel Vazzoler
As they have in the past, the Carleton Place Canadians and McKay Roofing are teaming up once again to give Carleton Place area elementary students a chance to go see the Canadians play.
Kevin McArthur, owner of McKay Roofing, and Jason Clarke are in the fourth season of running this program and are resuming their partnership this week with the McKay Roofing Elementary School Ticket program.
“I’ve been involved in hockey all my life, and my family has, and it was a way to give back a little something,” McArthur said. “It’s a great program, each of the elementary kids in Carleton Place, Beckwith and Mississippi Mills will get a ticket purchased on my behalf and it gives the kids a chance to see one of the best junior hockey teams in the country, if they’ve never had a chance to before.”
McArthur says Clarke was the one who brought up the idea of forming this program.
“One of the things was we wanted to start a program where we can give back to the community and show our appreciation,” Clarke explained. “Another thing is stirring up some interest in the youth about our hockey team by staying active in our community and generating some interest not only in our team but in hockey in general.”
The ticket program is the biggest program the Canadians run throughout the season, and is also the most popular program.
“Jason’s good at getting his hockey team involved, he’ll send some players from his team to the schools and they will all present tickets to the schools,” McArthur said about the popularity of the program. “The younger kids really look up and look forward to (seeing) the older players and I think that’s important that he gets his team involved.”
Clarke added the participation rate of the tickets is “off the charts.”
“The parents and the kids really enjoy coming to the games and seeing how good the hockey is and how competitive it is.”
The donation of the tickets from McArthur is only a part of the program. The other half is there is a competitive nature to this as the school that has the highest attendance at its game – each school is given tickets to a different game – receives a $500 donation to the school’s athletic program.
Both Clarke and McArthur said cut-backs from government funding is a big reason for the donation to the winning school.
“A lot of the government cut-backs have really hurt these schools’ athletic programs and I’m a big believer in the importance of having sports, whatever you’re doing, involved and it teaches the kids values and lessons in life,” McArthur said.
“We’re a sports team and we wanted to see the money get used towards the athletics of the schools so the kids can stay active, the schools can purchase new equipment and provide new opportunities for their students to do different things,” Clarke added. “We want to make sure the kids don’t miss out on anything and we felt it was the right thing to do to be able to donate money right to their athletic departments.”
With the other initiatives McArthur has in the community, Clarke said it was an easy decision to team up with him for this donation.
“Kevin’s a pillar in our community and, not only does he have this initiative, he does a lot of other community initiatives. That’s what great about living in a small town and having small-town businesses, just being community-oriented and he obviously takes a lot of pride in it, and so do we as an organization.”
“It’s a testament, too, to Jason and his organization,” McArthur said. “This year they came out with the Tier 2 team and Jason surrounds himself with good people in the organization. Here they are with a bunch of young kids, first in their division and Jason’s team is first again. It’s just incredible to see how successful he’s been and it’s great to be part of that.”