Ponoka Elementary School students spend some time asking hockey questions with members of the Ponoka Midget Wolves during school’s Tundra Hockey Spirit Day celebration

Ponoka Elementary School students spend some time asking hockey questions with members of the Ponoka Midget Wolves during school’s Tundra Hockey Spirit Day celebration

Provincials’ spirit starts early with PES Tundra Hockey Day

It was a day to celebrate community, team spirit, camaraderie and Canada’s national pastime

It was a day to celebrate community, team spirit, camaraderie and Canada’s national pastime as Ponoka Elementary School (PES), Alberta Hockey and Tundra Process Solutions honoured the upcoming hockey provincials; hosted by the Ponoka Midget Wolves.

On Friday, March 13, PES was taken over by an icy fervor as the staff and students set aside regular classes in favour of the Tundra Hockey Spirit Day.

Laverne Klimec, of the provincial hockey planning committee, says the whole event came about simply from the check of a box on the form the Wolves used to apply to host provincials.

“When we applied as a committee . . . to host it, there was box that asked would you be willing to participate in the hockey spirit day Tundra was hosting,” Klimec explained.

The day was meant to include the community in the provincials it would be hosting and when the Wolves were awarded Klimec went straight to the PES to speak with principal Lois Spate.

“I was happy maybe to have a noon hour and have the boys (Midget Wolves) come down and talk to the kids,” said Klimec.

However, Spate felt the idea fit in nicely with the school’s themed assemblies and Ponoka’s Tundra Hockey Spirit Day snowballed from there.

“Really it was Lois, who set the skeleton,” said Klimec.

The PES event included assemblies for different age groups in which the Midget Wolves where honoured and awareness was raised for the upcoming provincials. Students then rotated through three different hockey stations: hockey skills in the gym, singing in the music room and reading in the library, each was manned by Wolves players.

“I just had to get the boys to buy into it,” said Klimec. “But when we got them in there, they didn’t want to leave.”

Klimec wanted to use the day as an opportunity to get the Wolves into the elementary school because she felt it would be an effective way to have them bond with the young children who look up to them. “They little kids just thought it was so fun.”

Klimec says, years ago, her son Matt Klimec was chosen as a runner for the team hosting provincials in town. Now that he plays for the Wolves, she feels it is nice to have him on the other side of that relationship.

Tundra visited nine communities hosting the Hockey Spirit Day and Klimec says they were so impressed with Ponoka that the community was awarded the spot of feature community.

“It was an incredibly amazing day,” said Klimec.

She is also proud of the Hockey Spirit Day and the teamwork between Alberta Hockey, Tundra, the Wolves and PES because the event has held in such a way that in also celebrated literacy, music and the arts.