Oshawa, Ontario –  It is all systems go for the 34TH annual Rotary Skate-a-thon , at the General Motors Centre , at Athol and Mary Streets  in downtown Oshawa, on Sunday, December 1 starting at 12:00 noon.

“Vince Vella and his team at the General Motors Centre announced that they are very pleased to be the hosts, for the seventh consecutive year, of the Rotary Skate-a-thon. The Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood is very excited about giving all of the skaters in the Skate-a-thon the opportunity to skate on Rink 2, the Olympic sized ice surface at General Motors Centre. We want to say a big thank you to General Motors Centre, the City of Oshawa, and Global Spectrum for opening their doors to the kids of Oshawa, again, this year”, Dave Andrews, Rotary Club Past President announced today.

All of the hockey teams and skating organizations in Oshawa have been invited. Clubs from the Oshawa Church Hockey League, the Neighbourhood Association (Parks) League, the Oshawa Minor Hockey Association, the Oshawa Girls Hockey League, the Oshawa Ladies Hockey Association, the Catholic Youth Organization,  the Oshawa Skating Club,  the Oshawa Girls Ringette League, Durham Synchronized Skating  and Durham Speed Skating  have all been invited.

“And we have also invited back the Durham Dragons hockey organization which is made up of players that are mentally challenged. They have a great time at the Rotary Skate-a-thon and they raise lots of money for their organization and for Rotary. I am very proud of the players, their coaches and their parents,” Mr. Andrews added.

“The various organizations will be receiving their Skate-a-thon pledge sheets the first week in November, once their coaches and executive have made the commitment to help Rotary and help their teams raise money. Coaches will be handing out the pledge sheets to their skaters. And now, the rest will be up to the skaters and their parents. The kids will be asking their friends, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and neighbours on their street to sponsor them. Don’t be surprised if you get asked to sponsor one of the participants,” Rotary Club Co-chairman Shawn Kellam, announced.

Oshawa-Parkwood Rotary Club Co-chairman Dave Ruzsa added, that “This is a major fundraising event for all teams and clubs, and for the Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood. Basically, one-third of the funds raised goes to expenses (printing of pledge sheets and prizes for the skaters), one-third goes directly back to the teams, and one-third goes to the Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood for our Rotary community service projects.”

“The high cost of hockey and all ice sports in Canada gets higher every year and a tremendous burden on the parents. This is a great way for the coaches to raise funds to help cut down those expenses” Mr. Kellam said.

Proceeds from the Skate-a-thon will help the Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood   support several community services such as: Lakeridge Health - Oshawa, the R. S. McLaughlin Durham Regional Cancer Centre, many Oshawa Senior Citizens organizations, handicapped adults, Grandview Children’s Centre, Hearthplace, Eastview Boys & Girls Club, the YMCA, Mary Street Community School, and the Kids’ Safety Village of Durham Region, Simcoe Hall and the Salvation Army,  just to name a few.

For the past 33 years, the Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood and the Oshawa Skating organizations has participated in this, the second longest continuous running Skate-a-thon in Canada.

During the last 33 years, over $ 527,500 in net profits has been divided equally, with $264,600 going directly to Oshawa Skating organization participating member teams and $263,900 going to the many charities helped by the Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood.

“Last year, the Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood and the Oshawa Ice Advisory Council members decided to really put their efforts behind the Skate-a-thon, and gave it the time that it really deserves. We handed over $ 4,500 to the teams and to Rotary charities”, Rotary Club President Alan Finnigan said.

“This year, for the sixth consecutive year, we will give a special bonus to any team that collects $1,000.00. Each and every team that collects $1,000.00 will receive their normal share of the profits (usually over $300.00 for every $1,000 raised), and prizes for the skaters plus a special bonus cheque of $250.00.  And for every additional $1,000.00 they collect, they will receive an additional bonus cheque of $250.00, plus the normal proceeds, and prizes for the skaters,” Co-chairman Shawn Kellam announced.

The 34th Annual Skate-a-thon will take place, on Sunday, December 1, 2013 at the General Motors Centre in downtown Oshawa at Athol & Mary Streets. Over 400 skaters from more than 75 hockey clubs and skating organizations have been invited to participate.

On Sunday, December 1, the actual skating takes place. The skaters, who typically range in age from 4 or 5 up to 12 or 13, will skate their laps at the Rotary Skate-a-thon.

After the Skate-a-thon, the skaters will collect the money from their sponsors and bring the money to the General Motors Centre on December 14 ,and on January 4. At  that time, the skaters will receive their prize that they have selected for their skating and collection efforts.

“This may be the very first time that many of the children have raised funds, not only for their own team, but also for the Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood, and their many charities. For many youngsters, it is their first community service project. We are very proud of them to want to help others in Oshawa and the surrounding communities,” President Alan Finnigan said.  

Dave Andrews added “The Oshawa Generals have been huge supporters of the Skate-a-thon for all 32 years of the Skate-a-thon, and this year is no exception. We are very pleased that some of the Oshawa Generals are trying to be on hand at the collection days at the General Motors Centre where they may, schedule permitting, sign a few autographs for those skaters to thank the kids that participated in the Skate-a-thon. Team policy dictates that the generals cannot make public appearances at the actual December 1 Skate-a-thon because there is a very important game for the Generals that same evening, at General Motors Centre.”

Again this year, the Oshawa Generals have again added their very unique incentive to the Skate-a-thon with two great prizes. The two skaters who turn in the most money will each become an Oshawa Generals “Fan For A Day”. They will each receive 4 tickets to a Generals game, a tour the sound room that runs the giant videotron, and after the game they be escorted downstairs to an area just outside the Generals dressing room , where they will be able to meet some of the Generals, take some photos and get some autographs.

“The Oshawa Generals management team of Jason Hickman, and the entire organization has helped the Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood and the skaters each and every year with the Skate-a-thon prizes and team member appearances. The Generals have been a great friend to Rotary for all 32 years of the Skate-a-thon,” Dave Ruzsa added.

The final collection day is January 11, 2014 at the General Motors Centre, for late overdue collections.

Dave Andrews announced “By the end of January 2014, coaches can expect to get their team cheques, so they can use their portion of the Skate-a-thon profits, during this winter season, and help pay for some of the many expenses of running a hockey, ringette, and skating club, in Oshawa.

“ Everyone benefits from the Skate-a-thon”, said  Mr. Kellam.

“If there is any organization in Oshawa that wants to go out and get pledges, skate, get great prizes and raise money for their organization and for Rotary, please let us know. We can get some pledge sheets for them and they can be part of the longest running Skate-a-thon in Canada on Sunday, December 1, 2013,” Mr. Andrews announced. He can be reached by email at dave.f.andrews99@gmail.com.

Rotary is an organization of business and professional men and women, united worldwide, with more than 1.2 million members in over 200 countries, providing humanitarian service, building goodwill and peace in the world.  The Rotary Club of Oshawa-Parkwood has been serving the Durham Region for over 35 years through various fund raising endeavors. If you would like to learn more about Rotary or become a member, please call Membership Chair Dave Andrews at 905-576-0187 or Membership Director Lennis Trotter at 905-576-6869.

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