Celebrate Jacob Brown goal 560Editor,

As the days start to get shorter and the leaves start to change, many of us look ahead to winter with a small amount of dread.

The Bruce County winters are long for sure but for many of us the great game of hockey provides a welcome distraction through the long, cold winter. Soon after the first settlers set up camp in the communities that make up Saugeen Shores in the 1800s people began strapping on skates and picking up sticks for a winter diversion that has become an obsession.

Throughout the years, the people of Southampton, Saugeen Township and Port Elgin have flocked to the rink on many a cold winter’s night to watch their local heroes battle it out. Whether it was the Jaycees, Fishermen, Bears, Sabres, Sunocos or Mariners, fan support has been passionate and hockey has been one of the strongest threads that brings our community together with a single purpose.

A community needs something to cheer about, a team to rally behind and since 2007 when the Winterhawks were reborn, we are fortunate and honoured to be that team.

In our first two or three seasons, we were overwhelmed at the support we received from fans, sponsors and it was obvious that after 10 years without a team to cheer for people were happy to come out to the rink again on a Friday or Saturday night.

Unfortunately, over the past few years, fewer people have been coming out, which is a worrying trend for the team and the community.

It has been 20 years since the first incarnation of the Winterhawks folded and while we are nowhere near that scenario we want to do everything we can to ensure the team continues to prosper and thrive.

For those of you who aren’t aware, The Saugeen Shores Winterhawks are a non-profit entity. No one owns the team and any money that is made goes back into the team.

Since the team’s rebirth in 2007, The Saugeen Shores Winterhawks have not only given it their all on the ice, we’ve also worked hard to play a positive role in the community.

Before we ever set a skate on the ice, we developed a mission statement which is simple and focused on what’s important to us as an organization: “to promote the community and support the local minor hockey system by providing a competitive brand of hockey for local players and quality sports entertainment for the people of Saugeen Shores.”

As a non-profit organization, we’re dependent on, and grateful for, the financial support of our fans and sponsors and therefore it’s difficult for us to turn around and donate money to community organizations but we’ve found numerous creative ways to play a supportive role in the community

One of the longest-standing community partnerships, we’ve developed is with Winterama hosted by the Rotary Clubs of Port Elgin and Southampton. The Winterhawks have been involved since our inception and it’s a strong partnership featuring organizations who share a lot of the same values.

We have also had a couple of third Jersey nights where we auction off special jerseys worn by the players with all proceeds going to charity. Through this we were able to raise more than $4,000 for Special Olympics and more than $6,000 for the Liv-A-Little Foundation.

Our 50/50 draws also benefit a lot of important local groups such as the Saugeen Shores Figure Skating Club, Saugeen Shores Minor Hockey, The Legion.

We have also partnered with other community organizations for events like Stuff the Net for Salvation Army where, in conjunction with the Iota Phi sorority, we ask our fans to bring a stuffed toy to donate so that area kids can have a better Christmas. 

The Saugeen Shores Winterhawks have also been big supporters of the Swing, Shoot and Liv Golf Classic in support of Cystinosis research.

It’s not always about money either as we have used our games as an opportunity to recognize the heroes of our community with our First Responders Night as we honour the brave men and women who are always there when we need help.

We have had representatives on hand from the Saugeen Shores Police Service, Saugeen Shores Fire Department, Bruce County EMS and the Saugeen Shores Lifesaving Club and give our fans a chance to give them the applause and thanks the deserve.

There are other opportunities for us to give back to the community and we do our best to get involved in every one including Tim Hortons Camp Day, the Rotary Huron Shore Run and the list really does go on.

We believe the Winterhawks add to the community in a lot of ways. We bring people together and give them something to cheer about. We are proud to add to the rich hockey legacy in Saugeen Shores and we hope to be around for many years and add to the four championship trophies we have brought home to our community. We can’t do it without our fans. We have the best fans in the league – bar none – but we need more.

It takes a lot of money to ice a team and fans and sponsors are our lifeblood.

Season passes are a great way to support the team. They are reasonably priced and available at Gord’s Pro Shop. These passes are transferable, they are good for the play-offs and give you preferred seating for the whole season.

I ask you to give us a try, come out to a game – bring your family. It’s fun, it’s affordable and it’s an important part of the fabric that binds our community together.

Yours in hockey,
Gord Lamont,
President, Saugeen Shores Winterhawks