Letter: Volunteers deserve high praise

All of the Grand Forks Border Bruins board members deserve high praise, writes Peter Ritchie.

The Gazette recently published an article where the board of directors for the Border Bruins was criticized. I am writing to keep the record straight.

All of these board members deserve high praise. The efforts of Martin Vanlerberg and his fellow volunteers have been invaluable to our little town.

Despite unfair criticism and occasionally difficult local support, despite riffs that arise and despite the challenges to turn a team around, these good citizens soldiered on and helped to make the team a success.

To the fans, some of their efforts are obvious—selling tickets, making programs, keeping game records, timekeeping, announcing, running the beer garden, etc.

Some responsibilities are not so apparent—a steady stream of meetings, continuous phone calls, drumming up local business support, keeping the bus going, etc, etc. But at every game when you see the president of the team out on the ice picking up pucks after the puck toss and his wife in the booth selling admission tickets, you know this is a group of committed volunteers setting an example. For goodness sake, these two have four young kids and full-time jobs and yet they made it all go smoothly.

Let’s not forget how important small town hockey is. Not only does the effort of a local team pull a town together but the fact we have local teams deeply affects the lives of young men.

These players, many from afar, many living away from home for the first time, are given a chance to do their best.

We older folk realize how important a time it is for these young men who later go out in the world with lessons learned. And, even though they may not notice, these boys set an example for our kids.

Without volunteers like these, who care and organize and get the job done, none of this would happen. Hopefully the old guy writing this letter speaks for the whole community when I say to Martin, his wife Amanda, and to all the other citizens who dedicated time and effort, you did a great job.


– Peter Ritchie, Grand Forks


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