As in previous years, the Smoky River Minor Hockey Association (SRMHA) worked tirelessly over the past few months to organize a “ Night Under the Stars” themed, 7th Annual “Christmas Affair Gala.”
Once again the organizers went all out to create a stellar atmosphere, by transforming the Centre Chevaliers into a venue that provided guests with great food and entertainment along with a high-spirited good time.
The Annual Christmas Gala is SRMHA’s major fundraiser of the year, so every contingency is covered with nothing left to chance when presenting the fun, formal evening.
“We have a group of 8 ladies that form our Gala committee, each assigned a task of decorating, food, bar, ticket sales, sponsors, silent auction, volunteers, raffle etc that work closely together over the three months of planning,” says Pauline Therriault one of the organizers of the event.
“Then we have over 45 families signing up for two, 10 hour shifts starting Thursday to decorate and food prep and working security, kitchen etc at the event itself! Plus we have the Midget team who are our hosts, work coat check, and clear tables.”
Amber Karlson-Ouellet with Country Girl Catering, who is a minor hockey parent, donated her services again this year as she has for a number of years.
The event began with hors d’oeuvres and cocktails served when the doors opened at 5:00pm and the buffet dinner at approximately 7pm, catered to over 350 people including volunteers.
“We are so lucky to have Amber Ouellet and her team with Country Girl Catering! They work with our minor hockey volunteers,” says Therriault
Local businesses and organizations that celebrated their Christmas staff party at the event, included Wayne’s Auto Repair, Providence School, Nutrien-ag Solutions and staff from Dr. DeWet’s office.
Music and dancing were also a feature of the evening along with prizes including the coveted “Mystery Trip,” first prize and the 50/50 draw.
Dueling Pianos, comprised of Bob Cunningham and Jesse Peters, of Aussie Rules Piano Bar in Calgary, provided the eclectic, energetic music and comic banter for the evening.
The Mystery Trip of airfare and hotel for five nights in Nashville, Tennessee, valued at $2,500 was won by Shane Desaulniers.
Amber Dufresne won 2nd prize of 4 tickets to the Oilers and Steve Simard won 3rd prize of a four-course meal for 6 with Gavin’s Custom Catering.
The $1,465 50/50 prize and a Michael Kors purse went to Richard Chalifoux.
A silent auction that took place throughout the evening, closing around midnight, offered numerous items donated by local businesses and community members in support of the SRMHA.
Members of McLennan Victory Life Church provided the “Keys Please,” shuttle service taking guests and their vehicles home safely.
“We are thrilled they offer this service as it’s important that everyone enjoys their evening and gets home safely,” says Therriault.
The annual Gala has been remarkably successful due to significant community support and this year’s event is no exception.
“The success of the event year after year is all because of committee’s dedication, the parent’s hard work, the wonderful partnerships we have with local businesses and the communities generosity,” she Therriault. “It is so much work, but all so worth it.”
The money raised from the Gala makes participation in minor hockey more affordable for kids in the Smoky River Region and allows the SRMHA to assist kids in learning, not only the skills of the game but also the value of teamwork and sportsmanship, a disciplined work ethic and respect for themselves and others.