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Macgregor boy donates $750 to beloved NorMac Rink

Shelley Cook

The Austin Credit Union NorMac Community Centre is $750 closer to its fundraising goal of more than $200,000 for roof repairs thanks to 7-year-old Quinn Zander and his love of hockey.

Last year the novice Macgregor Mustang submitted a letter about his best day of hockey to Pioneer Hi-Bred Ltd's Hockey Jersey Bonanza contest. 'My Best Day in Hockey' was a simple three sentence essay about a tournament in Gladstone where Quinn not only scored a goal, but he also got his first penalty and free french fries at the end of the game.

"They didn't even win the game, they were losing something like 20 to 5 and then all of a sudden a goal was scored and they were so excited," explained Shelley Zander, Quinn's mom. "Everybody was like 'did you see that goal, it was awesome.' It was like they'd just won the Olympic gold or something."

The short essay was simple, yet embodied more than just a reason, or reasons, about why the boy loves hockey. Instead, in its simplicity, Quinn managed to convey his pure love of the game, win or lose, and his experience of being a kid on the ice.

For winning Pioneer Hi-Bred's contest, Quinn was given the option of receiving new jerseys to outfit his entire hockey team, or a cash donation of $750 to go to a charity of his choice.

"At first he really wanted the jerseys," Shelley said. "And then one day he just came up and said 'mom, I want to give the money to the NorMac rink.' I said are you sure, it's up to you."

Shelley says that Quinn's change of heart could have been the result of recent massive fundraising efforts taking place in Macgregor for the NorMac arena. The hefty price tag associated with fixing the leaky roof has meant that Macgregor residents have had to dig deep into their pockets to try and come up with the cash to replace the roof.

"It was around the time that we (the entire community) had a huge garage sale to raise money for the rink," she said. "He saw everybody giving, maybe that's why he changed his mind."

In a letter to the NorMac Centre, Pioneer Hi-Bred praised Quinn for his altruism and generosity for thinking of the needs of the entire community above his own desires for new jerseys for his team. The Mustangs were also blown over by his selfless act.

"They told me they were proud of me," he said, sheepishly answering yes, that it felt good to be a local 'hero.'

Quinn's contribution to the NorMac Centre won't directly go to fix the roof. Instead the cash will be used to buy new top-quality nets for the play area in the basement. Shelley said the board discussed Quinn's donation and felt it more appropriate to give him something tangible to see and show people what his reward money went to, rather than putting it towards the leaky roof.

"We thought it would be nice for him to be able to see what his donation bought," she said, adding that the centre hopes to engrave his name somewhere on the nets for others to see as well.

That being said, the money that the centre has already raised to purchase the nets will be transferred over to the roof fund, which means that the roof fund is still $750 richer than it was before Quinn donated the money.

For Quinn, the real pay off comes every time he steps into the NorMac Community Centre. Whether he's playing hockey with the Mustangs, or playing a friendly game of floor hockey in the basement with his friends, the NorMac Centre is a place he says he loves to go to.

"I did it because I love the rink," he said. "I love to go there."

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