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Staal family donated outdoor rink a boon to students

New facility for Christian school

Tags: Excerpts from the Windmill

THUNDER BAY, Ontario – Thanks to the generosity of the Staal family, students at the Thunder Bay Christian School now have an outdoor rink at their disposal to hone their skills at skating and hockey.

The school contacted the Staal family, hoping that they had some of the things left from their home rink, and that it could be set it up for the students at school, the alumni of the four Staal brothers, Eric, Jordan, Marc and Jared, who all play in the National Hockey League (NHL). The Staals responded by supplying the building materials for a new rink instead.

According to Principal Bea Hayen of the JK-to-Grade-10 parental school, the idea originated with the school’s booster club, who thought building an outdoor rink would serve the students well.

The brothers practiced their hockey skills on a backyard rink built by their father Henry, but after the brothers left to pursue their professional sports careers in places such as Raleigh, N.C., Pittsburgh, New York and, possibly Phoenix, the rink was torn down. Their father Henry, who operates a sod farm, said that it was a natural way for them to give something back to the school they had attended.

Henry Staal and his wife Linda were present for an official ceremonial ribbon cutting of the outdoor facility.

Students will use the rink during recess. Gym classes may also make use of the ice as part of their curriculum. Through the school, community groups will also be able to book the surface.