By David F. Rooney
Dennis Berarducci won 20 grand for Revelstoke Minor Hockey in Kraft’s national Hockey Goes On Contest early Wednesday evening.
“Golden won $100,000 and Revelstoke won $20,000 — two small Interior communities up against places like Kamloops, Kelowna, Surrey and Richmond,” said Renee Howe who helped organize and promote the voting campaign that propelled Dennis and Revelstoke into second place.
“How cool is that?”
And cool it truly was! Scores of people wandered downtown to help experience what most people thought would be a grand moment. The City had helpfully blocked off Mackienzie Avenue between First and Second Streets and dozens of kids set up nets and played vigorous games of street hockey. Meanwhile, their parents and grandparents watched them play or talked amongst themselves and watched the Canadiens-Flyers game on TVs especially set up for the evening at Conversations Café and Isabella’s Ristorante.
The media was definitely in attendance. EZ Rock DJ Jeff Riesen was broadcasting from in front of Conversations, talking periodically with Berarducci or people in the audience while Times Review reporter Alex Cooper prowled the edges of the crowds, stopping to snag photos.
That NHL game was all important as the TSN broadcast was the one during which the winners of Kraft’s Hockey Goes On Contest was going to be announced during the intermission between the second and third periods.
As that moment drew closer the crowd began to coalesce at Isabella’s, which was carrying the TSN broadcast. Dennis and his wife Glenalee, accompanied by family members Rusty and Laura Berarducci and Laurie Berarducci and her partner James, nervously watched the intermission interviews.
Then on came an announcer for Kraft who announced the five $100,000 winners! The crowd inside Isabella’s groaned when they saw that Dennis and Revelstoke were not among winners. Then they announced the second place winners who were to receive $20,000 for their community Minor Hockey Associations. There was a pause and a sudden realization that lot of hopes and dreams were coming true.
The crowd went wild!
Dennis and Glenalee jumped to their feet. They were almost delirious with joy. Certainly Dennis had tears in his eyes.
And it was hard not to understand why. This was not just money for Revelstoke Minor Hockey. It was a true affirmation that Dennis’ decades of hard work for hockey-playing kids in our community was validated by thousands of Revelstokians and people in neighbouring communities who recognized selfless dedication when they saw it.
Dennis, a truly humble guy, wept.
He had worked as hard as anyone to try and win that money and his name was the one out front during this months-long contest; losing was unthinkable. So he was proud, damned proud, that those efforts bore fruit. But I think, too, he was most proud of the people in our community who rallied behind him and voted again and again and again.
And you know what? This couldn’t have happened at a better time.
Thursday, April 4, is Dennis 67th birthday.
Happy birthday, my friend.
On Dennis’ behalf I’d like to thank Karen and her staff at Conversations, Victoria and her staff at Isabella’s, Maria Stagliano, Edie Schleiss, Judy Vigue and all of the other terrific ladies, men, boys and girls who helped vote or otherwise organized and contributed to this victory for the hockey-loving city of Revelstoke.
And finally, I’d especially like to thank Renee Howe for helping write the nomination that contributed to our community victory.
Here are some photos from this very memorable day: