When Michael “Mikey” Church’s younger sister Holly lost her Falmouth home to a fire in 2018, he knew something had to be done to help others in need.
“My sister lost her house in a fire just after Christmas in Falmouth. That was a wake-up call,” said the 48-year-old Mount Uniacke man.
“Once it happens to you or a family member, it kind of puts things into perspective. Anything can happen at any time.”
Church said he’s organizing the inaugural Hants County Oldtimer All-Star Game in hopes of creating a trust fund to help those who suddenly face tough times.
The game will be held on April 13 at the GFL Newport and District Arena and will feature hockey players who are 45 years and older.
The game will pit townies against county folk, and largely be between former Hants West Rural High School hockey players and those who attended Windsor Regional High School.
“There was a high school rivalry between the Hants West Flames and the Windsor Regional Warlords,” said Church. “All of us grew up playing hockey. I played with the Hants West Flames.”
Church, who grew up in Union Corner and was a right winger for the Flames, is excited to see the community come together to watch the friendly rivalry carry on decades later.
“Social media has ruled the world for communicating so a lot of people don’t have one-on-one communications no more. They’re using electronic devices,” said Church. “What better way to get people back together like it was 20 and 30 years ago?”
There are already several local ‘celebrities’ signed up to participate, and Church said they’re still looking for a few more to take part.
It’s free to attend — a freewill monetary donation will be collected at the door — and any non-perishable food donations collected will be redirected to the Matthew 25 Windsor and District Food Bank.
There will be a 50-50 draw, face painting on site, and a chance to get a photograph or autograph with the ‘oldtimers.’
Plus, the family-friendly event is for a good cause, he said.
“Money raised will help unfortunate, displaced families in the county due to natural disasters — fire, flood, et cetera — providing emergency help for families in desperate need of the essentials — food, shelter, clothing,” said Church.
The event starts at 3:30 p.m. with a figure skating demonstration. Game time is 4 p.m.
He’s hoping to alternate sites each year, with 2020’s event being held in Windsor.
Church said they are in the process of setting up a trust fund to handle the donations and then they will be dispersed over the following year to those in need.
“You could have it all and then have nothing,” he said.
“You’re going to be displaced for a few weeks up to a couple of months before you can start over again,” he added, noting he hopes the fund will continue long into the future.
If you go
What: Inaugural Hants County Oldtimer All-Star Game
When: April 13 at 3:30 p.m.; puck drop at 4 p.m.
Where: GFL Newport and District Rink, 1240 Highway 215, Newport
Cost: Freewill donation; non-perishable food items will also be accepted for the Windsor food bank
Why: To bring the community together while fundraising to help those in need