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“All in for Jim” event to support Arena

For years, Jim McLeod gave his time and energy to sport in Elmira, and now his family is giving once more in his name.

Touched by the community’s decision to name the second ice pad at the new Woolwich Memorial Centre after McLeod, his family is organizing “All in for Jim,” a 3.5-km fundraising walk. All money raised will go to the Jim McLeod Memorial Arena.

The family of Jim McLeod is organizing a fundraising walk in his name to raise funds for the Jim McLeod Memorial Arena.  From left are Krista (McLeod) Sandelli, Mirella Sandelli, Helen McLeod, Rob Sandelli and Ava, Chad, Mason and Shawna McLeod.
The family of Jim McLeod is organizing a fundraising walk in his name to raise funds for the Jim McLeod Memorial Arena. From left are Krista (McLeod) Sandelli, Mirella Sandelli, Helen McLeod, Rob Sandelli and Ava, Chad, Mason and Shawna McLeod.

“My family was just honoured that there was a passion in the community to do this in dad’s name,” said Jim’s daughter Krista (McLeod) Sandelli. “We just felt we absolutely had to do something to show our support and raise some funds for the new complex … This is what we thought would be most enjoyable for the community.”

The walk is set to take place Sunday, May 24 – a week after long weekend – along the Lions Trail and past the tree planted in Jim’s memory. Sandelli said the walk will be fun for families, with a barbecue, prizes and autograph signing by NHL players and members of the national sledge hockey team.

“We really hope to get everybody out, and that they just recognize it as a great day they can spend with their family,” she said.

McLeod was involved with a number of organizations in the township, including the Woolwich Agricultural Society, the Dan Snyder Memorial Golf Tournament and the Flame of Hope trail ride and carriage drive. He coached minor hockey for a number of years, then became equipment manager for the Elmira Sugar Kings and later the Canadian sledge hockey team.

McLeod was proud to be with the sledge hockey team when they won the gold at the Paralympic games in Turin, Italy in March 2006. A year later, he succumbed to cancer at age 58.

Sandelli fondly remembers how her father came to every one of her ringette games and her brother’s hockey games.

“Our parents were very much the ones that were always at every game, every practice, they were always the ones who drove other kids around whose parents couldn’t make it. That’s huge, and I’ll always remember that … Their support was just immeasurable for any child that was in any sport.”

When plans for the new arena were being drawn up, McLeod was adamant that it include a second ice surface.

“He didn’t want to see any team being shuffled outside Elmira to practice or be struggling for ice times … senior skates, family skates, he just wanted to make sure that was available,” Sandelli said.

The walk will be a one-time event. McLeod’s family has no idea what kind of turnout to expect, but they’re hoping many of the people he helped over the years will take part.

“We’re really hoping to get everybody out to help us make this as huge as possible,” Sandelli said. “Let’s do it big and do it right.”

For more information on the walk, see www.jimmcleod.org.

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