Kimberley Dynamiter fans have never had a night quite like Friday, Oct. 13. A crowd of some 700 attended the game between the Dynamiters and Grand Forks, and while they cheered and enjoyed the Dynamiter victory, the arena was buzzing from a big pre-game announcement.
Just prior to the game, it was announced the Mike Gould, born in Cranbrook and raised in Kimberley, was committing to donate $7.5 million to the Dynamiters and Kimberley Minor Hockey.
Gould grew up playing hockey in Kimberley. He lives in Kimberley, although he does spend some time in Calgary as well.
“I’m a hockey guy,” he said.”I love the sport.”
He was looking for a way to give back to the community he loves, and it occurred to him that with his love of hockey, it was a natural fit.
Gould wants to see the money used for a number of things — to keep the Dynamiters stable and solvent for years to come; to help kids who want to play and whose families may not be able to afford it; and to keep hockey-playing kids in Kimberley.
Keeping kids in town is one of the reasons he wants some of the funds ear-marked to the new Triple A team in Kimberley. That team, just embarking on its first season, provides high level hockey and allows kids to stay at home.
There isn’t a lot of hockey here, he says, especially once you get to the upper levels like midget, and it’s incredibly expensive.
“This is an opportunity for me to publicly thank the community where I grew up, to pay it forward,” he said. “Hockey is everything to me. And I think it’s something my mother, if she was still here, would have supported. I want to help out the community that helped me out.
“My Mom loved going to games. And she always gave what she could. Any kid who came to our house was treated like one of her own.”
Gould says he doesn’t want a lot of recognition for the gift.
“I’m doing it because I can,” he said. “I want to do this because it will help out. Whether the money goes to fees, or ice time or better equipment, if it helps kids stay in hockey and stay in Kimberley, that’s what I want.”
One of the things the Dynamiter board has already discussed is perhaps using some of the funds to purchase a bus, for both Dynamiter and Minor Hockey use.
“I love the idea of buying a bus,” Gould said. “I hope they get a skookum one.”
Anyone who plays hockey in Kimberley has to do a lot of travelling. Gould would be more than pleased if their own bus allowed the teams to travel in comfort.
Gould says he got a little emotional at the announcement on Friday night.
“i’m really happy to do it. I’m happy to carry on my Mom’s legacy of helping youth. And I think if she could have been here, she would have said, “that’s my boy.”