Richard Halverson, left, rink manager at the North Shore Recreation Centre, and Ryan Rees, president of the Tatamagouche Minor Hockey Association, look out onto centre ice while standing in the portion of the stands that will be removed for the construction of the new Michael C. Latinski Minor Hockey Room. Raissa Tetanish photo

Michael C. Latinski will live on at the North Shore Recreation Centre.

The Tatamagouche Minor Hockey Association is dedicating a new minor hockey room to Latinski, who passed away July 5, 2015, as the result of a motorcycle crash, just four days short of his 25th birthday.

“We’re very pleased,” said Michelle Latinski, Michael C.’s step-mother, as her eyes welled with tears and her voice cracked. “He was an amazing guy, and an amazing athlete. This rink was his second home. He lived for hockey. He was a gifted player and a very sportsmanlike player.”

“He was very liked,” added his father, Mike.

Richard Halverson, the rink manager at the recreation centre, said he was approached by Donna Matheson, a member of a provincial championship tournament committee. The committee held a midget A tournament in Tatamagouche in 2007, and still had some profit leftover.

“They were passing it out to people they thought would be deserving of it and they asked what could they do with it,” said Halverson.

“The community supported the tournament generously, and the tournament was very successful, leaving us with a surplus of funds were weren’t anticipating,” said Matheson.

Over the years, the committee was sharing the money with the hockey association when it deemed necessary, and with about $5,000 left, Matheson said they made the decision to give it to the association.

“We thought it would be a good opportunity to provide some funding,” she said, adding Latinski was part of the host team that year.

Halverson suggested the minor hockey room, and the dedication to Latinski was conceived.

“We wanted to do something in his memory that would be long-lasting, and that we would be satisfied the money would go to good use.”

Ryan Rees, the current president of the local minor hockey association, said Kelly Tucker with the recreation centre applied for additional funding to go along with the $5,000. The Municipality of Colchester County approved $10,000 for the project, and Rees hopes the room will be constructed before the end of this hockey season.

“From the people in the community, we heard the same things (about Michael C.). He was a great person and we thought it would be a good idea to call it the Michael C. Latinski Minor Hockey Room,” said Rees.

The room will feature a board room aspect, but will have gear on display people have donated for those who may not be able to afford any. It will also have space to lock up other equipment. Some of the seating in the stands will be lost with the construction – the room will have a flat ceiling. But, there will be a space for spectators to stand directly above the room, even if extra support needs to be installed.

Michelle said she and Mike were “very touched” when they heard what the minor hockey association wanted to do.

“It’s a great way to honour him,” she said. “He would say, ‘wow, that’s sweet.’”

The association has a plan already drawn up and was to bring in a contractor in January to look it over and get materials ready. Rees is hoping the community will step forward and help construct the room, set for March 1 to 5.

“So many people out (in the community) are talking about this room, and they want to help out,” he said.

“It’s amazing in his short life, how many people he touched,” said Michelle. “He always made people smile.”

“And yes, I would like to help work on the room,” added Mike.

When the room is constructed, the hockey association plans on installing a sign to acknowledge the dedication, and hopes to display a jersey with Michael C.’s number.

Anyone wishing to help out on the construction of the room can contact Ryan Rees at 902-890-6229.

 

Michael C. Latinski’s love of hockey took him to play with the Cumberland/Colchester Colts in the Nova Scotia junior C hockey league after years with the Tatamagouche Minor Hockey Association.
Submitted photo

UPCOMING EVENTS:

          19th annual Ray Thompson Memorial Tournament will run Feb. 10-12 at the North Shore Recreation Centre. Cost is $600 per team, with a guarantee of three games and prize for first place team. Three divisions – A – open 16+; B – 35 and over; C – 50 and over. Mixed teams are welcome. To register, contact Ryan Rees at 902-890-6229 or ryan.rees@firestopsprinklers.ca.

          The Tatamagouche Titans are hosting a casino fundraiser night Feb. 18 at the North Shore Recreation Centre. A cocktail reception runs from 7 to 8 p.m., with casino games from 8 to 11 p.m. A dance will begin at 11 p.m., and run until 1 a.m. Tickets are $30 each of a date pack for $50 includes two tickets. Tickets can be purchased at Tatamagouche Brewing Company or Needs Convenience. For more information, contact Ryan Rees at 902-890-6229 or ryan.rees@firestopsprinklers.ca. Cocktail attire/formal wear, please.

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Raissa Tetanish
Raissa Tetanish is the editor of the Tatamagouche Light. She has more than 12 years experience as a reporter, with a background in both photography and photojournalism. She can be reached at 902-305-6177, or raissatetanish@tatamagouchelight.com.