Ask anyone in Don Mills and they will tell you that they all know the Don Mills Civitan Arena. The Civitan has been a staple in our community since 1957.
A place where you can learn to skate, play hockey or come out on Sunday afternoon for a free recreational skate with your neighbours.
With the arena having to be moved by 2020, there’s been a lot of talk about where it should go and how we can keep it in Don Mills. Let’s hope that the powers that be and the community can work together to find the new perfect spot. But the Civitan is much more then its bricks and mortar, their volunteers are the heart of this arena.
In this issue we are profiling Greg Thompson, a coach at the Don Mills Civitan Hockey League. Greg grew up in Don Mills and now lives with his family a stone’s throw from the arena. He has been volunteering with the Civitan and the Don Mills Hockey League for over 18 years. From coaching to refereeing to master of ceremonies at the yearly hockey banquet, he seems to have done it all, but he is very quick to tell you he doesn’t do it alone. The men shown in the photo are just a few of many that help to keep this hockey league thriving.
Don Mills Civitan Hockey League serves more then 500 community kids ages 4 – 18 with several different programs: House League, NYHL Select Mustangs, GTHL Mustangs, and a Hockey School. There are 360 hockey players every week that use the arena. Greg proudly talks about some of the special programs that they are all involved with: the Pro Action Hockey League introduces new Canadians to hockey and how the Civitan club helped to start the Donaldson’s Diamonds which caters to individuals who have intellectual disabilities. The Civitan is also an enthusiastic partner of the Best Buddies Program (of which Greg’s oldest daughter is the President) – giving students with intellectual disabilities the chance to experience what we take for granted.
Greg is happy with the new vision of the club and the direction they are going, including promoting hockey to more women and building a stronger volunteer base. The dictionary defines volunteering as “acting or done willingly and without constraint or expectation of reward”. Well I think this describes Greg and his fellow volunteers to a T.