Van Hellemond in, Beard out in Ward 2; incumbent Findlay also returned

The following article appeared in the October 26 edition of the Guelph Mercury:

Election day was kind to Andy Van Hellemond. The 62-year-old former National Hockey League referee emerged as one of a handful of surprise successes on Monday, collecting more votes than any other candidate in Ward 2.

“Tell everyone I want one cream and one sugar in my coffee,” he quipped after his victory was confirmed. “Because that’s what I’ll take when I come by for a visit.”

Van Hellemond, who won with 29 per cent support, said he would continue making the rounds and return every phone call from his constituents.

He said his personal touch was one key to his win. “I got a lot of emails from people and I didn’t email them back. I called them back,” he said.

Van Hellemond will serve the north-end ward alongside incumbent Ian Findlay, 46, who was elected for a second term with 25 per cent of the vote.

Incumbent Vicki Beard finished fourth with 20 per cent of popular support. She was behind Ray Ferraro.

Van Hellemond credited his family, friends and boosters such as former NHL forward Joe Contini for helping him get elected.

“Obviously, my name probably helped,” he added. Van Hellemond was a household name in Canada during the 1980s and ’90s, when the Winnipeg-born official patrolled the ice as the most respected official in the game.

“But I’m not here as a hockey referee. I’m here to represent the ward,” he said Monday.

Among his top priorities will be advocating for seniors, he said. He also mentioned he might encourage councillors to give up their parking spots and take the bus to meetings.

Incumbent Vicki Beard was one of only two councillors unseated Monday. During her campaign, she said she would continue the work of the previous council and work to attract more business to Guelph.

She was one of the few candidates to make headlines in this campaign, though perhaps not for the better.

While speaking on the popular CBC Radio One show The Current earlier this month, she got confused and told a national audience that Guelph licenses body-rub parlours.

“I apologize if my comments caused harm to the city’s reputation,” she said later that day during a televised debate.

Findlay and Beard were not available for comment Monday night.

Speaking by phone from his home on Riverview Drive, Ferraro said he was pleased by the campaign in Ward 2, which he served as councillor from 2003 to 2006.

“It’s been very polite. No one’s taken any personal shots in Ward 2, so that’s been gratifying,” he said.

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Ward 2 by the numbers

Andy Van Hellemond, 2,538

Ian Findlay, 2,180

Ray Ferraro, 1,853

Vicki Beard, 1,757

Paul Mahony, 403

Top two vote-getters elected