RED DEER -- A Red Deer man has spent a year carving a hockey-inspired marble sculpture. Bill Harvey developed an interest for sculpting in 1974 when he saw the Pieta by Michelangelo in Rome, Italy.

“It occurred to me that if Michelangelo could do what he did with hammers and chisels, what might I be able to do with modern power tools,” Harvey said.

Over the next 45 years, Harvey worked on multiple wood sculptures and smaller scale marble pieces. In 2019, he took the challenge of creating his own life-size marble sculpture.

“I wanted to do it, so I just decided to do it,” Harvey said.

He found a slab of marble rock in Vancouver Island. Originally, it weighed 44,000 pounds, but it broke into two pieces while it was being loaded onto a truck. Harvey took one of the 22,000-pound pieces back to Red Deer.

“It was trucked here from Vancouver Island. It was unloaded with a huge forklift, and it was moved over here with another huge forklift,” he said.

Harvey started chipping away at the rock in June 2019. He worked on the sculpture in the outdoors for six months before moving it into a warehouse to work on it through the winter. It took him 1,200 man hours, the equivalent of 150 work days, before finishing the sculpture in June 2020.

“The whole idea is that of a parent and child learning how to play hockey,” Harvey said.

The child is modelled after a friend’s child named Brody. The adult in the sculpture shares a resemblance to Harvey.

“It just turned out to look a little bit like me because of the mustache,” he said.

Harvey has named it “Creating a Champion” representing the hard work it takes to learn and master any skill.

“The whole idea, when I came up with this design, was really about how hard it is for people to start a project, like learning how to play hockey or carving a monument,” Harvey said.

“It’s really just about getting down and putting your nose to the grindstone and doing it.”

The sculpture is currently sitting in an industrial yard in Red Deer, but he expects to find it a new home in the upcoming weeks.

“I want it to be located in a place where it’ll be appreciated,” he said.

“It’s a lot of work and I don’t like it being here in the back of an industrial yard.”