By Darren Lum
Get ready, Haliburton: the Haliburton County Huskies are coming to the A.J. LaRue Arena for New Year’s Day.
During the Municipality of Dysart et al’s committee of the whole meeting on Tuesday, Dec. 7 via YouTube, Mayor Andrea Roberts announced the township’s invitation was accepted by the Ontario Junior Hockey League’s (OJHL) Huskies, who are expected to hold a team practice, followed by two public skate sessions.
Roberts, who is one of the team’s billet families, providing accommodations to a player, said she asked the Huskies coach Ryan Ramsay about coming to the A.J. LaRue Arena.
“How can we get you to come to Haliburton? Come to our arena and do something?” she said. “I was trying to do something before Christmas, but their schedule’s a little crazy and then he said, ‘What about New Year’s Day?’”
The mayor said even though it’s a statutory holiday town staff are required to come to the arena for three hours, anyway, so it worked out.
The cost of the event, which is in lieu of the annual New Year’s Eve skating party, is being covered by the township through the community event budget.
Although the attendance of the practice and the public skate is free, the team is accepting donations for the Haliburton 4Cs Food Bank.
The Huskies will have a team practice from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. and then welcome the public to skate with them for two sessions. The first will start at 3:15 p.m. and end at 4 p.m. for ice flooding. The second will be at 4:15 p.m. and end at 5 p.m.
Since they were relocated from Whitby by proud Haliburtonian and Huskies alumnus Paul Wilson, the Huskies have been drawing hundreds to every home game. MPP Laurie Scott even spoke about the success of the team, including local players Joe Boice and Ryan Hall at the provincial legislature in Queen’s Park last week. As of Dec. 10, the Huskies are second in the OJHL’s east division and have been a top-five team in defence in terms of goals allowed in the league. They also feature the league’s top goal scorer, Oliver Tarr (21 goals), as of Dec. 10.
Pre-register for the event by going to the Municipality of Dysart’s website: www.dysartetal.ca. Registration opens on Dec. 20. COVID-19 protocols will be enforced such as proof of double-vaccination (for those 12 and older), mask wearing, physical distancing in the lobby area, and an on-ice capacity of 35 people from the public at a time.