Why you don’t want to miss the second annual Winter Classic

Pictured above: Members of the Winter Classic 2013 organizing committee, Mike Hoekstra, Sandy Herkimer and Jay Thatcher. Missing are Olga Piedrahita and Shannon Collison.

It’s been a year since the Winter Classic was launched at NC, and the second annual event is just around the corner.

All proceeds from the event, to be held Saturday, March 9, will be divided between two faculty-chosen awards for the School of Environmental and Horticultural Studies (SEHS) in memory of their peers’ loved ones: the Edward Hoekstra Memorial Bursary (for a Landscape Technician student) and the Maria Uribe de Piedrahita Scholarship (for a Greenhouse Technician student).

InsideNC checks in with organizer Sandy Herkimer, SEHS Internship and Special Projects coordinator, for an inside look at this fundraising initiative.

What inspired the launch of the Winter Classic last year?

We were inspired last year to hold a first-annual Winter Classic as a result of our cohort (Mike Hoekstra)’s father’s passing in Nov 2011.  Eddy Hoekstra was a previous NHL player for the Philadelphia Flyers and his sudden and tragic passing hit home for us.  In a show of support, money was collected to go towards a donation to a charity for Mike’s dad and after a generous donation was made, there was still enough money to do something else with. 

I thought that a bursary in memory of Mike’s father would be a fitting way to carry on his legacy here at the College.  With the hockey connection, plus the fact that a Winter Classic on the Lagoon has been something we had been thinking of for a few years, it seemed the right time to create such an event.  So, we held the first Winter Classic last year hoping to generate sufficient funds to carry the bursary forward for the first three years.  We met our goal but continue to build the fund for this and other scholarships.

Similarly, this year another one of our peers (Olga Piedrahita) suffered the sudden loss of her mother, and a substantial amount of money was collected as well. We thought that a memorial scholarship in her mother’s name would be appreciated by Olga and her family, to reflect her mother’s love of education and all things agricultural, so we are continuing our practice of fundraisers to generate funds for both faculty-chosen student awards.

Who is involved with organizing the event?

Our committee is comprised of myself; Shannon Collison, assistant to the chair of the SEHS; Mike Hoekstra, Landscape Technician program faculty; Olga Piedrahita, Greenhouse Technician program coordinator and faculty; and Jay Thatcher, Horticulture Technician program faculty.

Who are you hoping will attend the event?

We are hoping students, staff and faculty from either campus will participate either as players or spectators in this event. We wanted to showcase a competition between departments and/or programs as well, and currently have two programs entered with teams (Sport Management, and Environmental Management and Assessment), along with two faculty teams (Business and Horticulture). There is still room for four more teams so we want students to rally and try to beat their professors in a friendly yet competitive game setting.

Family members of the two memorial scholarships will be present and the event is open to the public. 

Donations will be accepted (Income Tax receipts are available for any donation over $20) and a prize table and possible silent auction will all be a part of the afternoon event.

How many people are you expecting to participate?

We hope to attract eight teams of ball hockey players, and with friends, family and possibly the public who may be wandering around the Greenhouse/Brewery area that day, we hope to see up to 100 people throughout the day.

What was the event like last year?

Last year, the event was on the smaller side. It was attended by approximately 45-50 people   (including four teams of players), and many family members and volunteers helped out during the day. We had three types of chili and pizza by the slice for players and spectators, which made braving the cold a bit easier!  Overall, the event generated about $700 for the bursary. 

Is there anything new planned for the second annual Winter Classic?

This year’s event will host more teams, and the format will be a mini round-robin tournament, with playoffs and a final game. The winner will receive a trophy.  There will be two arenas so games can be played simultaneously and games will be shorter in length, to speed things up.

What do you feel will be most rewarding about the event?

I think the most rewarding thing about this event is the satisfaction we get from holding a fun activity that will result in generating funds to help out our future deserving students for our own programs, while honouring the memory of the loved ones of our peers.  We’re all one big family in the SEHS and we really come together in times of turmoil or sorrow. 

The Winter Classic and the Boston Pizza fundraisers are ways of showing the support system we have for each other, and our students. Plus, it’s just plain fun to organize and see it taking place!

Why do you feel it is important to establish and support the scholarship/bursary fund?

When we found ourselves with extra money collected to show our condolences in both cases, it was really a no-brainer to establish the bursary and scholarship. It just made sense to carry on someone’s memory through such an appreciated gift to a deserving student. In a way it’s our way of giving back not only to our coworker, but to our students as well.  We understand how difficult it can be for students today to have a successful experience at College for various reasons  – financial being one of them – and we like to recognize outstanding student accomplishments as they are deserved, which is why we wanted to ensure that both of the memorial faculty awards are continued for the next several years at least.

What can those attending this year’s Winter Classic expect? 

The second annual Winter Classic will have fun and fast-paced ball hockey games to watch, and lots of food to consume (and the NCT Brewery is open for business next door). 

There will also be a prize table with penny sale tickets $10 per sheet (24 tickets/sheet), a toonie toss for a substantial prize, and a possible silent auction. 

Don’t miss the second annual Winter Classic, Saturday, March 9, 2013 from 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. (or after final championship game). The event will be located at the Niagara College Greenhouse (registration, food and indoor location) and games will be played in the East Parking Lot.

For info or to register, contact Mike Hoekstra at ext. 4461 or Sandy Herkimer at ext. 4470.


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