NEW GLASGOW – When a young girl fell through the ice on the East River in the 1930s, the community decided it was time to create a safe space for New Glasgow residents to skate without the risk of drowning.
James MacLeod, a longtime New Glasgow councillor, led the charge to raise the funds and volunteer labour to build the community’s first official outdoor skating facility. The result was the West Side Community Rink.
Now, 76 years after that tragedy, youth today still skate at that outdoor rink at the North End Recreation Centre rink. The two organizations will go head-to-head in a broomball challenge at the North End’s outdoor rink this week to raise money for the centres.
The challenge is an annual event titled the Jean MacLeod Proudfoot Memorial Broomball Challenge.
MacLeod Proudfoot was a friend of the young girl who fell through the ice and the daughter of James MacLeod. MacLeod Proudfoot continued to volunteer her time to the West Side community rink years after her father made it a reality and now her son, Frank Proudfoot, carries on the family tradition.
Proudfoot started this broomball challenge two years ago.
“We wanted to do something with the north end because they’ve been rivals for years,” he said. “It gets pretty riled up.”
Last year, the fundraiser brought in about $20,000, which was split evenly between the two community organizations.
This year, Proudfoot said there’s a new prize for the team that raises the most money, a donation from the New Glasgow Rotary Club of $500 and a donation from Chediac’s Furniture and Appliances of $500 worth of furniture, which will be given to the centre in addition to half of the total funds raised.
“That gives an incentive for people to raise money,” Proudfoot said, adding that in previous years, a trophy was awarded for raising the most money.
Each year the centres have a specific project that will benefit from the broomball challenge.
This year, funds raised for the West Side Community Centre will go towards its refurbishment and funds raised for the North End Recreation Centre will go towards adding a second outdoor rink where the tennis courts are.
Following the broomball game, a dance will be held at the North End Rec Centre, which is open to the public.
The ball drops at 7 p.m. Saturday at the North End Rec Centre outdoor rink. Proudfoot said the public is encouraged to attend and cheer on the teams.