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Suzanne Groenewold

A member Vermont Academy varsity boys’ hockey team works with a prospective hockey player during the Pleasant Valley Hockey Association’s Skate for Free Day on Nov. 8.


Get ready for the Jingle Bell jog

It used to be that the annual Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day marked the end of the road racing season in Brattleboro.

The Brattleboro Area Chamber of Commerce would like to change that.

On Saturday, Dec. 13, at 9:30 a.m., the Chamber will present the inaugural edition of the Jingle Bell Jog, a 5-kilometer fun run for all ages.

The race will start behind the Brooks House in the Harmony Lot and run out of town along Whetstone Brook before turning around at the midpoint and returning along the same route.

There will be prizes for the first three men and women finishers. All finishers will receive a commemorative mug filled with hot chocolate. Participants are encouraged to wear holiday-themed attire of all kinds. Jingle bells will be provided.

To sign up for the race, visit

Deer season underway

• The rifle and shotgun season for deer hunting began last Saturday and continues through Nov. 30. Deer appear plentiful in Vermont, with the state Department of Fish & Wildlife estimating a pre-hunt population of about 135,000.

If you’ve bagged your deer and want to brag about it to the whole state, Vermont PBS will air a special, live edition of “Outdoor Journal” on Thursday, Nov. 20, at 8 p.m.

The show also will be available at

Local hunters are invited to send in photos and stories prior to the broadcast. Selected stories will be featured during the program, and live phone and chat lines will allow viewers live interaction during the broadcast.

Send your stories and photos to

Youth hockey season begins

• The rinks at Living Memorial Park in Brattleboro and Vermont Academy in Saxtons River are open again, which means it’s time for youth hockey.

Pleasant Valley Hockey Association started its season with a skate-for-free day Nov. 8 in conjunction with USA Hockey and ice rinks throughout the country.

More than 30 area kids, outfitted in hockey gear and skates to try hockey for the first time, took to the ice at Choukas Rink at Vermont Academy.

VA boys’ varsity hockey coach Chris Davidson and Vermont Academy varsity hockey players, and coaches, players and volunteers from PVA, spent the morning leading drills and skating with the enthusiastic youngsters.

And it’s still not too late to get involved with PVA. If your child is interested in trying hockey, or already plays and would like to play this season, visit

New arena for UVM?

• The University of Vermont has been talking for years about building a replacement for Gutterson Field House and Patrick Gymnasium.

Now it looks like the long-sought multipurpose arena for UVM’s Division I hockey and basketball programs is closer to reality.

Despite the $65 million price tag for the new facility, fundraising has begun. UVM President Tom Sullivan recently told the Burlington Free Press that he’s guardedly optimistic the effort will succeed.

“We’ve had very good conversations with a number of people and we are cultivating and developing a pipeline of private fundraising and that progress is going along very well, I believe,” Sullivan said. “We are not at the end yet, but I can see the end in sight.”

Sullivan and UVM Athletic Director Bob Corren are tight-lipped about fundraising gains. They did say that if the university can pull it off, the facility would be built in approximately two years.

The proposed arena would seat 5,700 for hockey and 6,500 for basketball.

Gutterson, built in 1961 and renovated in 1991, and Patrick, built in 1963, would be repurposed into venues for intramural games and practices and as a recreation center for students.

For good or ill, UVM is locked in an arena arms race with other schools, and UVM’s athletic staff says recruiting players is an increasing challenge when schools of comparable size have more modern and spacious facilities.

I’ve been to both “the Gut” and “the Pat,” and they are exciting, raucous places to see games, particularly when UVM has winning teams. Both are also the destination point for Brattleboro teams in high school hockey and basketball when it’s time to play for a state championship.

I can understand the need for something shiny and new, but I hope the atmosphere and history of these two venues can be incorporated into UVM’s new arena.

Elks honor soccer phenom

• The Brattleboro Lodge of Elks recently honored 6-year-old Ryan Dunn of Brattleboro. Dunn won the Brattleboro Elks Soccer Shoot on Sept. 20 in the 7-and-under age group.

He then represented Brattleboro in the State Elks Association Soccer Shoot finals held in St. Albans on Oct. 19, where he finished third in his age group.

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Originally published in The Commons issue #281 (Wednesday, November 19, 2014). This story appeared on page D4.

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