Carol Meers has been part of the Rampage's executive committee for over four years. She recently made the move to be the city's manager of recreation administration services.

Carol Meers has been part of the Rampage's executive committee for over four years. She recently made the move to be the city's manager of recreation administration services.

Heart of our City: Carol Meers keeps Rupert Rampage, civic centre rolling behind the scenes

Carol oversees the growth of recreation in Prince Rupert and recognizes and helps enact policies to grow the city's revenue streams

Multiply 15, the number of seasons Carol Meers’ son Jared played in minor hockey by four, the number of times parents can work at the canteen to offset registration costs, and your total would come to a lot of hours spent handing out poutine dishes for Carol.

“Oh yes, I did my fair share [working there]. Fifteen years of minor hockey, I’ve been in that canteen,” she said last week at the civic centre.

Jared Meers no longer plays Seawolves minor hockey – he graduated a number of years ago now – and Carol no longer works behind the counter four times per year, but Jared’s on-ice impact in Prince Rupert is felt through his leadership qualities as captain of the senior men’s Prince Rupert Rampage hockey team and Carol’s impact is still felt in the rink as secretary treasurer with the Rampage and everywhere else at the civic centre.

Dubbed the centre’s new manager of recreation administrative services after she transferred from city hall’s finance department more than a year ago, Carol oversees the growth of recreation and casual sport in Prince Rupert and perhaps more importantly, recognizes and helps enact policies to grow the revenue streams that the City of Prince Rupert can utilize to bolster both its services at the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre and elsewhere.

“I call it a mini-city hall just because it’s the only revenue-generating entity of the city – the only thing we don’t do here is take [city] taxes,” she said.

Not only does she keep the recreation department in check, but as the secretary treasurer of the Rampage, Carol assists with a plethora of duties while serving on the team’s executive committee.

“You find yourself doing more than one role, so I do the sponsorship with [team defenceman] Derek Baker and I do the programs of each game, so organizing all of that and getting everything to come together for that first game is the challenging part,” she said.

The Rampage’s executive will ramp up in August to prepare for the team’s 2015-16 season, their eighth season as a hockey franchise and approximately Carol’s fifth as treasurer.

She handles sponsorship duties for the team – something she says is never an issue with the strong community support the town holds for the group.

“Sponsorship in Prince Rupert has been phenomenal. The businesses support this team 100 per cent, which has been really nice to see because when the boys finish minor hockey, there’s really nowhere else for a lot of them to go. This provides them with an opportunity to continue to play and be a part of the community,” said Carol.

In addition to scoring goals and making saves, the team has also been known to read books to kids, collect money for the Salvation Army, walk in the Santa Claus parade, DJ New Years’ Eve shindigs, play golf for charity and skate with miniature Rampage members-in-training for a family skate day.

“They do a lot of volunteering for [events that] the port holds and in the schools they have ‘Read with the Rampage’ and so it gets them out into the community. It’s awesome,” she said.

“We have the Rampage show up at the year-end minor hockey banquet.

All of that coordination takes work and it’s easy to do when the reaction from fans has been so positive year after year.

“We have the best fans in the CIHL (Central Interior Hockey League) as far as I’m concerned. We average through the season about 600 [attendees] per game,” she said.

Carol, who was born and raised in Prince Rupert with extended family going back at least a couple generations and with the Johnson clan (her maiden name) having firm roots on the North Coast, took many classes in college to prepare her for life with the city. She just received her 25-year pin, being with the organization for 27 years now, and credits a number of her colleagues for helping her get so far in her career.

“The majority of my experience, I learned a lot of it on the job, hands-on. I’ve had a lot of great role models who have helped throughout my career … just too many to name that have helped me,” she said.

With the recreation department re-structuring brought upon by consultant Brent Meunier in 2014 and the addition of new director Willa Thorpe, the department’s preparing to soar to new heights.

“It’s amazing, with Willa on board and myself, it’s relieved a lot of pressures that were on the aquatic manager. Now each of us has a piece of the pie to deal with and it’s manageable now … It’s proven to be very beneficial,” she said, adding, she keeps tabs on the innovative group’s progress as secretary for the newly-formed recreation commission.

“The focus at this point is going out and getting sponsorship for different projects that the recreation complex needs, more fundraising … with the proceeds going to the recreation access program for low-income families,” she said.

“It’s been a very rewarding career here … [Prince Rupert] is a great community – the scenery, the ocean, just the friendliness of the community. It’s a great place to raise a family.”