Winkler installs 65 foot hockey stick

A new 65 foot hockey stick has been built in Winkler to help kick off the National Women's U18 Championship. Left, Meridian Structural Engineering Manager Andrew Froese, Winkler Operations Manager Doug Eidse, National Women's U18 Championship Cochairs Jordan Driedger and Clare Agnew, Mac Ens of Steel Tree, Meridian Operations Manager Leon Friesen. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

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Participants in the National Women’s U18 Championship were greeted with a brand new attraction outside the Winkler Arena this week.

A 65 foot stainless steel hockey stick stands in front of the Winkler Arena to help welcome people to the event which runs Nov. 5-9 in Morden and Winkler.

Meridian Structural Engineering Manager Andrew Froese said the stick was an idea that came from the organizing committee.

“I talked to (Leon Friesen, Meridian Operations Manager) and came up with a sketch and decided we wanted to make it a reality,” he said.

An old reader board that no longer worked was removed from the site in front of the arena, giving Meridian existing piles to use for the project.

Froese said the total project weighs close to 3,000 pounds, and Meridian planned carefully, including planning a structural model to ensure it would withstand wind.

“The guys in the shop loved working on it,” Froese said. “It was a team effort. Meridian did the welding and Convey-All did the polishing.”

Cochair of the host committee for the National Women’s U18 Championships Jordan Driedger said the idea came from the host committee, as something to match the puck that is included in the City of Morden sign.

“We discussed it as an event hosting committee,” he said. “Over the last few weeks it kind of came to fruition.”

Days before the event began, Driedger said they were on schedule.

“We had about nine months to plan this event which is a little bit of a shorter time frame than normal for a Hockey Canada event, but it just so happened that they were looking for a host and we were looking for an event to host,” he said. “The nine months has flown by but our group and our volunteers have worked very hard to get everything in place.”

A new 65 foot hockey stick has been built in Winkler to help kick off the National Women’s U18 Championship. Left, Meridian Structural Engineering Manager Andrew Froese, Winkler Operations Manager Doug Eidse, National Women’s U18 Championship Cochairs Jordan Driedger and Clare Agnew, Mac Ens of Steel Tree, Meridian Operations Manager Leon Friesen. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

A new 65 foot hockey stick has been built in Winkler to help kick off the National Women’s U18 Championship. (GREG VANDERMEULEN/Winkler Times)

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