Saskatoon–As Merlis Belsher Place begins to take shape at the U of S, a local business is making sure the memory of Cody Smuk, a former Huskie hockey player who lost his battle with testicular cancer in 2015, lives on in the new multi-sport facility.
Inland Steel Products, a scrap metal recycling company servicing Saskatchewan, has contributed $150,000 to the Home Ice Campaign to create "Smuker's Lounge" in Merlis Belsher Place – a gathering spot for players, alumni, and friends of Cody's to reminisce while cheering on the Huskies.
Inland Steel Products' Matt Ditlove said his family was eager to make a substantial investment back into the community to commemorate the 50th anniversary of their family-owned business, and saw an opportunity to honour a family friend at the same time.
"We value the importance of relationships–both business and personal. We have been strong supporters of sports in our community, and recognize that sports bring people together and make Saskatoon a great place to live," he said. "On a personal note, we want to remember Cody. Cody loved his friends and family, and he loved to play hockey. For those of us who loved Cody, we will never forget him. And now his name will live on."
Darla Smuk, Cody's mother, said she and her family were honoured to learn that "Smuker's Lounge" would be incorporated into the new arena, and thinks it's a wonderful way to remember her son.
"It meant a lot to Cody to be a part of the Huskies program. He was always very proud to wear the Huskie jersey and do his very best for the team," she said. "This is a beautiful gift Matt and his family are giving our son. His memory will live on in the new facility and he will be remembered. We can't thank Matt and his family enough for their kindness and generosity now and during Cody's battle with cancer."
U of S men's hockey coach Dave Adolph, who coached Cody, said he's glad Cody will be remembered, as the Huskies embark on a new era and prepare to move into Merlis Belsher Place.
"Cody will always be a big part of Huskie men's hockey," said Adolph. "He embodied what it meant to be a Huskie men's hockey player. The 'Marty's Men' patches we wear serve as a reminder of the significance he played for our team and remembers our dear friend and teammate. The addition of 'Smuker's Lounge' in Merlis Belsher Place will be a perfect way to honour Cody's legacy."