Ponoka Culture and Recreation Complex was resonating with cheers and laughter of kids of all ages on Thursday, Jan. 21 when Alberta’s famous show hockey team Critters showed up in town to help raise money for the new Ponoka Elementary School (PES) playground.
Sponsored by dozens of businesses in town and even out of town, like West Edmonton Mall, Critters brought their funny game to Ponoka, including phony fights, # 840 Critter chasing the referee with a bucket of water after being penalized for slashing, Critters replacing their regulation size net with a tiny goal enough to accommodate only one skate, five Ponoka All Stars players being simultaneously sent to the penalty box for Critters to score three goals in a row, among other fun stuff.
Throughout the game, which ended 10-3 for Critters, the #840 Critter relentlessly harassed the Ponoka goalie and exchanged greetings with lots of kids filling the bleachers.
Outside the rink, there was a silent auction going on, in addition to various door prizes for the visitors.
During the first intermission, Margaret Dillen had her name drawn from the bowl for the $500 Shoppers Drug Mart “shoot-to-win”, but when she missed all her shots, she was given a $50 dollar gift card as consolation.
During the second intermission, there was the paper plane tossing competition, in which not only kids and teenagers, but also a few seniors took part. Morgan Blanchard, the maker of the paper plane tossed closer to the puck at the centre of the rink won $200.
Jennifer Bartley of the PES Council Society, spearheading the playground fundraising effort, said they had raised a total of $10,000 at the end of the fun night.
Critters team, made up of the staff of the country music radio station 840 CFCW, has been helping raise money for community projects since 1993. They have been reported as having helped raise a total of some $948,000 dollars over the period.
With the team being so popular throughout the province, Bartley said they had asked the Critters to come to town back in July 2015.