SPORTS January 14th, 2017

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Leaside Gardens receives $500K donation

Rink to be renamed for Dr. Tom Pashby after gift from fund

ALEXEI MALAKHOV/TOWN CRIER SAFE PLAY: Local hockey teams play in January at Leaside Memorial Gardens, which is to get $500,000 to help make it best-in-class for safety and education.

There’s a little extra glide in Ray White’s skating stride this new year.

The chairman of the Leaside Memorial Gardens board says he is thrilled by a $500,000 donation from the Doctor Tom Pashby Sports Safety Fund, which was officially signed Dec. 21.

“We undertook this fantastic expansion, and one of the ways we raised funds is that we offered the opportunity for people to have their name applied to certain parts of the arena,” White said in an interview. “But we wanted to have a marquee name for our new rink,”

The donation, earmarked for sports safety education and arena maintenance, couldn’t come at a better time. During fundraising efforts by Leasiders from 2008 to 2013 to build the second rink, there wasn’t a huge block of money to warrant a rename.

Crestview Construction donated $250,000, and in honour of that move by the Grant family, the older rink was named in honour of Bert F. Grant. Now, with Doctor Pashby family’s gesture, the newer rink will be named in his honour.

“At the end of the day, we raised enough money for the City of Toronto to get the rink built, but we didn’t have a name for it,” White said. “When this opportunity presented itself we were just thrilled because we couldn’t have thought of a better fit than Doc Pashby because he is such an icon in the Leaside community and in Canada.”

The Pashby family is a fixture in the Leaside community. Bill Pashby said he and Dr. Pashby’s other two sons played hockey at Leaside Gardens. All six grandchildren and both of Pashby’s great-grandchildren learned to skate there.

The ties the Pashbys have had to the Leaside community, along with an interest in making the Gardens a best-in-class facility, were the impetus for the donation.

“We hope they showcase best practices, programs and equipment,” Pashby said.

“The objective of the Pashby Sports Safety mission is to prevent catastrophic injuries in sport and recreation. We thought this would be a novel way to do this, therefore the provided funds, which don’t have to be used right away.”

A committee will be created with members of the Doctor Tom Pashby Sports Safety Fund, Leaside Memorial Gardens and members of the arena’s community to determine how the money will be spent. The second ice pad will be named in Doc Pashby’s honour.

The donation is being marked by a special cheque ceremony, Jan. 19. Writer Terry Fallis will be the emcee.