GALLERY: Fundraiser a slam-dunk success

TIMMINS – After a fairly intense 90-minute practice Wednesday night at the McIntyre Arena, Timmins Rock players got to enact a little good-natured revenge on coach Corey Beer Thursday at Kia of Timmins.

By Thomas Perry, The Daily Press (Timmins)

As part of the Kia Drive Change initiative, Beer volunteered to take a seat on the dunk tank and help raise funds for the Timmins Family Counselling Centre.

Beer can be thankful, however, for the fact the players on his team are nowhere as adept at the game of baseball as they are hockey.

Player after player took their turn attempting to dislodge Beer from his perch with no success.

Finally, a little girl — allowed to make her tosses from a much shorter distance — took her turn and sadly missed, as well.

Disappointment on her face, and likely worrying her friends might taunt her by suggesting she throws like a Timmins Rock player, the young girl “accidentally” leaned on the trigger mechanism while picking up the balls — plunging the unsuspecting coach into the chilly water.

With Beer already damp, the aim of his players — especially blue-liner Grant McClellan, who in played hockey, baseball and football at Trenton High School — suddenly improved.

“That’s a good question,” McClellan, who actually dunked Beer twice, said, when asked what impact he thought his throwing prowess might have on the afternoon’s dry-land training session and the evening’s on-ice session.

“Hopefully, he will be in a good mood about it. It was all in good fun. I am sure he will be OK. Maybe he will come back with a few extra burpees for us to do.”

McClellan, who is entering his second year on the Rock blue-line, was happy to be out in the community with his teammates on a sunny day, helping a worthy cause.

“It is always great when we can get out in the community and interact with the fans and not have them just see us as faces on the ice,” he said.

“We try to get involved and do as much out in the community as we can.”

Beer was selected to represent the Rock on the dunk tank in an on-line poll, with team president Ted Gooch losing out.

“I am pretty sure that’s one vote I am happy I didn’t win,” he said, with a chuckle.

When it comes to winning, of course, the Timmins Family Counselling Centre was definitely the day’s big winner.

“We are a non-profit charitable organization and we have been around since 1979,” said the centre’s executive director Jessica Morin.

“We are really trying to focus on community awareness and making sure the residents of Timmins and the surrounding area know about our services. We do receive a lot of government funding for our programs, but a lot of them are also offered on a fee-for-service basis.

“Everybody comes in for a free intake appointment and that’s where we determine whether or not they are eligible for government funding or if they have an employee assistance program, or have to pay out of pocket.

“We have a range of services that includes things like therapy and counselling and we also offer workshops to different organizations.”

Morin noted fundraisers like the Kia Drive Change initiative are important to the centre.

“When only have so much ministry funding that we receive and the remainder of the money we need is raised through events like this,” she said.

In addition to the dunk tank, Thursday’s Kia Drive Change event also included fun activities for kids, including an inflatable obstacle course from Neo Laser Tag and a barbecue featuring items donated by Dabrowski’s Smoked Meats, as well as cookies donated by The Hollinger House Bakery & Deli.

There were also a number of items donated for the raffle table, including a pair of Timmins Rock season tickets.

Bruce Stewart, owner of the local Kia dealership, was pleased to see so many people attend this year’s Drive Change event.

“Kia Canada has every dealer across the country doing a Drive Change Day,” he said.

“We have helped out quite a few different organizations and this year we are helping out the Timmins Family Counselling Centre. Last year, we assisted the United Way. We pick a different group each year.”

Kia gets a lot of assistance putting on the event each year.

“We get a lot of participation from our suppliers, the parts suppliers in town and all of the other dealerships,” Stewart said.

Thursday’s sunny skies certainly didn’t hurt the turnout for the event.

“People who work around the area were able to come over for a quick bite,” Stewart said.

“It’s a nice day and a good chance for them to get out of their offices for an hour and enjoy the day.”

While the Drive Change initiative is relatively new, Kia of Timmins has a history of helping out community organizations.

“We used to do other fundraising events on our own,” Stewart said.

“It (Drive Change) has been pretty successful.”

Kia of Timmins sponsors the Timmins Rock and Stewart was happy to see so many players, coaches and team executives on hand to help out with Thursday’s event.