HALLOWELL — They came with their hockey sticks, jerseys and stories.

Oh, did they come with a myriad of stories.

Ron Blaisdell, 57, of Waterville, talked about the decades he spent playing, coaching and even refereeing in the Kennebec Ice Arena.

“I was there in the beginning, in 1973,” said Blaisdell. “I was a scorekeeper, too. I did a lot of everything in there over the years.”

Dan Foster, 40, of Augusta, talked about his “home away from home,” a hockey haven for more than 30 years.

“It was pretty much my home,” he said. “It’s all I did. I’ve been playing since I was 6.”

And 5-year-old Jac Crochere, who’s been skating for about a year, remembered when the roof caved in at the Kennebec Ice Arena on March 2

“I cried,” he said softly.

The Kennebec Youth Hockey Association held a rally Sunday at the rink’s Whitten Road parking lot, and the community came out in force.

More than 350 people attended the sun-splashed rally, which included a silent auction and raffle.

When the KIA’s roof caved, it displaced numerous hockey and skating organizations. The cause of the collapse is still under investigation, and arena co-owner Peter Prescott reiterated Sunday that a decision to rebuild hasn’t been made because details are still being worked out with the insurance company.

The proceeds raised Sunday would go toward any effort to rebuild a rink.

Kennebec Youth Hockey Association President Wendy Gagne told the crowd the event “took on a life of its own.”

She also expressed hope to “get a rink up and going.”

Prescott added the rally was touching.

“It’s tremendous,” he said. “This much support may make it possible to put this thing back up. There is just an amazing amount of support. We had tremendous support when we built this place, and it’s nice to see it now. We need the support, and people want to get on a rolling wagon.”

Added Prescott’s son, Steve: “It makes everything going on easier to absorb. It’s pretty cool to see. Often times people don’t realize what they have until they don’t have it. Everybody is affected. Everyone is anxious. Everyone is antsy. People want a new home, and they want it here.”

Many in attendance agreed.

“After the collapse, this is our first big chance to get back into the hockey community,” said Kandra Foster, 43, of Augusta. “We really miss seeing these people every Sunday. This was an opportunity to bring some money with us and show our support and let them know that we will be right there with them all the way.”

Added her husband, Dan: “Now that the rink is gone it makes you really appreciate what it was like to have a place here over the years.”

Sam Moore, 46, of Gardiner, said the rally Sunday was much-needed for the community.

“It’s a celebration,” he said. “I love hockey. I want to see it here again. It’s a great benefit. This is a multi-community thing. This affects a big area.”

Added Jil Crochere, of Chelsea, who was with her sons Michael and Jac: “It’s good to see positive support. Hopefully, they will build another one. Jac sleeps with his stick and puck. Mom even comes in to find him sleeping with his helmet on sometimes.

” We all love hockey. This is why we came, to show support.”

Bill Stewart — 621-5640

[email protected]


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