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Pucks and trucks: Saskatchewan company using jobs to net players for hockey team

BIGGAR, Sask. - A Saskatchewan company is hoping to score workers by offering jobs to anyone who can shoot on a hockey net.

AGI Envirotank in Biggar, west of Saskatoon, has posted an ad that starts with a call for players, coaches and managers to help rebuild the town's senior hockey team, the Biggar Nationals.

There haven't been enough players to get a team together for a couple of years.

But one of AGI's founders, Dave Burton, wants to play hockey. It just so happens that the company also needs people to work in welding, drafting, fabricating and other jobs.

"It's real. It doesn't seem like it should be, but it is," Jeff Burton, AGI's director of operations, said Thursday.

"It's so busy around here, I kind of heard hints that he was doing this and really didn't think much of it because there's crazier stuff that he does."

The ad states that Biggar has a tremendous local talent pool and the addition of a few key players and managers could prove to be "very successful right out of the gate."

AGI is open to providing long-term jobs, career and training opportunities to interested applicants, the ad continues.

"If your dream is to continue to play hockey while establishing a career, we encourage you to consider relocation to Biggar and employment with AGI Envirotank."

AGI builds tanks for service stations and oil companies.

Burton said drawing young people to Biggar has been tough because they want the amenities of a big city. Biggar has just over 2,000 people.

Burton said his dad did something similar at another business in the 1980s and it worked.

"At the previous business, I can probably count 10 guys that I know he brought in primarily to play hockey and I know that they were still at the business 20 years later," Burton said.

"It's good for the community and it's good for the company because you get people that are used to rural Saskatchewan. They want to stay and work hard. You know, hockey players, they learn how to work hard."

Burton said the company can train people to weld, but it doesn't have time to teach people to play hockey.

But welders who can't play hockey are still welcome too, he said.

— By Jennifer Graham in Regina

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