Mooseheads play 3 home games at packed Forum

The Mooseheads played their three home games of the playoff season at the Halifax Forum because the Scotiabank Centre was being used. Fans said the atmosphere was nostalgic and lively.

The old time hockey feeling returned for some Mooseheads fans last week when the team played its three playoff home games at the Halifax Forum.

The team left its home at the Scotiabank Centre, with an 11,093 seating capacity, so the rink could be used for the 2015 Ford world men’s curling championship. The Mooseheads played at the north-end Forum, with a 5,600 seating capacity, where they won two out of their three games against the Shawinigan Cataractes.

While the team had no control over losing the Scotiabank Centre for the games, a spokesman for the Halifax Mooseheads said they did what they could to make accommodations.

Scott MacIntosh said the players loved the atmosphere of the Forum. “We were hoping to go on that old time hockey feel, and it really worked out well for us.”

Season ticket holders were let into the Forum earlier than general admission ticket holders so they could pick their seats first.

The doors to the Multipurpose Centre, the building attached to the Forum, were opened at 3:30 p.m., before the games started for those who had lined up early. The team offered free coffee and played a video with trivia and important Mooseheads hockey moments.

While some ticket holders didn’t attend because the games were held at the Forum, the stadium was packed all three nights, MacIntosh said.

Team banners were hung across the stadium and the logo was painted on the ice, reminding fans that this was a Mooseheads game.

At the Scotiabank Centre, seating is much more spread out and farther away from the ice than at the Forum. “You’re almost on top of the ice,” MacIntosh said about the Forum.

The size of the rink brought the players and the fans closer together. MacIntosh said the players had a lot of fun being a part of that atmosphere.

Mooseheads fan Lukas Macmillan was at the games with his father. “It was a lot more intimate and felt like a community hockey game rather than a corporate game,” he said.

Tim Feely said he’s been going to the games since the team first started playing 20 years ago. Feely lives in the north end and enjoyed being able to walk to the games last week with his wife.

“It’s old, it’s nostalgic,” he said. “It brings back a lot of the old school hockey stadium feeling. It’s noisy. You hear the puck, you hear the players.”

“It was a lot more personal,” Macmillan said. “It felt more intense. Plus, the crowd was right into it.”

Feely said that while the Scotiabank Centre is the better location, it would be a good idea to get the team out of the big arena and into somewhere smaller like the Forum a couple of times a year to remind fans and players of the old traditions of a hockey game.

“It’s just nice to revitalize the place every once in a while,” Feely said.

This was the third time the Mooseheads played at the Halifax Forum. There are seven games left in the playoffs, with the final game on April 21 in Moncton.

SMU students lead workshops for incarcerated women in Nova Scotia

SMU students who work with incarcerated women in Nova Scotia to help integrate them back into society are finishing the second phase of their project.

The student Enactus team at Saint Mary’s University has created a project called OPtions Nova. Jake Porteous, founding project manager, says they focus on empowering inmates at the Nova Institution for Women with the skills they will need to be successful once they are released from custody.

Porteous says that their goal is to give the inmates “a sense of entitlement, confidence and empowerment.”

Enactus Canada is a community of students focused on entrepreneurial action. There are Enactus groups all over Canada who start projects, such as OPtions Nova, in their communities.

The project had a pilot run last summer to see how well the women would react to university students working with them. After receiving feedback from the women and staff at the institution, the OPtions team reworked the structure of the program and started a new set of workshops 10 weeks ago. They will complete this first round next week.

The OPtions Nova team is made up of six SMU students. They travel to Truro every two weeks on Friday to run the program. The program runs for 12 weeks at a time, in three stages. The initial stage consists of workshops that teach basic business skills, financial literacy and employment skills.

When a woman involved with the project is released, she is paired up with a member of the OPtions team, who mentors her.

The women create their own co-operative business structure in the third stage of the project. Porteous says the goal is to encourage an entrepreneurial venture that the women can pursue once they are back in society.

One woman from the program has been released from custody so far, and she has had two job interviews since her release two weeks ago, Porteous says. The team has visited her in her community and has been helping her find a job.

Another woman from the program is being released from custody soon. Porteous says she has been reaccepted to the culinary arts program she was in before her incarceration.

Porteous is a third-year student majoring in criminology and sociology. He says his education in these areas have helped a lot with the project. “It’s given me a little bit of a deeper understanding of what these women have gone through.”

OPtions Nova co-manager Simon Gordon is another SMU student who has been influenced by the project. He says being a part of this project has made him rethink his career path. Initially, Gordon was working towards a career in marketing, but is now planning on going to law school.

Gordon is the business co-ordinator and focuses on the development of the workshops.

The second co-manager is Nicole MacPherson. She does community outreach and sets women up with their mentors.

Each member must be security trained by institution staff before entering and working one-on-one with the women. Porteous says the staff at the institution don’t want a huge number of students who can go in whenever they want, so they’re careful about who they train.

Porteous says they look for members who have initiative and show that they “will be there for the long run.”

Porteous says their long-term goal is to be inside the other five women’s penitentiaries in Canada over the next five years. He says they will likely involve other community organizations and Enactus teams from the cities these institutions are in.

In other news: March 9 – 12

Top news this week from other news sources.

‘Thrown under the bus for a bike lane’: proposed two-wheel route in Halifax raises concern (Metro)

The City of Halifax and Dalhousie University are planning to install a protected bike lane on campus. Avid cyclists think this is what the city needs, while others claim it isn’t worth losing the three accessible parking spots that will have to be removed if the lane is made. The project would cost $200,000, and the city would lose $70,000 annually from 24 parking meters that would be removed. It was suggested that this type of bike lane would be more useful on a street such as Robie Street.

Dalhousie plans to hike tuition, cut faculty budgets (Chronicle Herald)

Dalhousie plans to increase tuition by three per cent and cut faculty budgets over the next year. Nova Scotia tuition is already around eight per cent higher than the national average. The faculty budget cuts will only affect departments with decreasing enrolment. This includes arts, social sciences, law, dentistry and sustainability. Departments with increasing enrolment will receive more funding. This includes science, computer science, engineering and medicine.

Former Dalhousie University startup rejects $500,000 Dragons’ Den offer for its booze bottles (Metro)

Daniel Bartek, Cam McDonald and Bobby Besant pitched their company, Sage Mixology, on CBC’s Dragons’ Den. The episode aired on Wednesday. They were offered $500,000 in exchange for 40 per cent ownership of the company and a distillery licence. They turned down the offer, because they say they want to focus on making their product better before continuing in their enterprise.

Kalin Mitchell says prepare for at least 20 cm of snow on Sunday (CBC)

Kalin Mitchell, a meteorologist for CBC, says to expect heavy snowfall late Saturday night. The storm is a result of a low pressure system out of the Gulf of Mexico, and will also affect southern New Brunswick and P.E.I., with P.E.I. seeing the worst of it. Parts of Halifax may see up to 30 to 45 cm of snow. Environment Canada has issued special weather statements about the weather disturbance.

Burning cigarette to blame for fire in Halifax’s north end (CTV)

Halifax Regional Fire and Emergency crew were called to Agricola Street around 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday. The crew found a storage shed on fire that had been used by a construction crew working on a local project. After an investigation it was determined that a cigarette had been disposed of into a pile of debris, and started the fire. Nobody was hurt.

Halifax’s MacDonald Bridge gets a ‘Big Lift’

Halifax Harbour Bridges is replacing the entire suspension structure of the MacDonald Bridge. The project has begun and alternate transportation has been made available by the city during bridge closures.

The Angus L. MacDonald Bridge is now 60 years old. The entire suspension structure will be replaced between now and the fall of 2017.

The project is expected to cost around $150 million – funded entirely by bridge tolls. The bridge toll increased by 25 cents in 2011, and has made this possible.

How it will work

Construction is starting on the Dartmouth side. The bridge will be replaced in 10 to 20m sections at a time, each one taking around three days to complete.

You can check out the Big Lift website for videos on how the construction will happen.

Why it’s necessary

Alison MacDonald is the communications manager at Halifax Harbour Bridges. She says the MacDonald Bridge is safe, but as it is 60 years old it has become corroded. The Big Lift will extend the life of the bridge by at least three decades. It will also reduce future maintenance costs.

Bridge closures

Closures started March 1. From Sunday to Thursday the bridge will be closed from 7 p.m. to 5:30 a.m. There will also be 12 full weekend closures within the next 18 months. The dates of the weekend closures haven’t been announced yet. This means drivers will be able to use the bridge on weekdays, and most weekends.

Altered bus routes

Halifax Transit is providing bus shuttles every 10 to 15 minutes that will go from the bus stop outside of Scotia Square on Barrington Street to the Bridge Terminal in Dartmouth. During weekdays and most weekends the shuttles will go over the MacDonald Bridge and the journey will take a total of 12 minutes. During bridge closures, the shuttles will go over the MacKay Bridge and take a total of 35 minutes.

Glen Bannon, a manager of transit operations with Halifax Transit, says the ferry will run more frequently during this project. On weekdays it will run between 6 p.m. and 11:45 p.m., as well as every 30 minutes on Sundays between 6:30 a.m. and 11:45 p.m.

Walkers and bikers

The bike and walking lanes will be removed at the end of June, and will not be reopened until December 2016. A free shuttle service will be provided for those who walk or bike across the bridge all day, everyday. Halifax Harbour Bridges bought 17 shuttles, each with a bicycle trailer that can carry up to 12 bikes.

The Dartmouth location for shuttle pickup and drop off is 30 Faulkner St., next to the bridge. The Halifax location has not been decided yet.

Completion

The entire project is expected to be over in the fall of 2017. Bridge closures will be finished within 18 months from now. Construction will continue, but everything that requires the bridge to be closed will be finished.

Alison MacDonald says the bridge will feel more like the MacKay Bridge when the project is over.

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